Let me reminisce of last summer, a different decade, a different time. I was but a determined Mom of three, with a pen, a calendar, and a plan. We would not go bored. We would fill up our time with playdates, town and county events, classes, fairs, camps. I dreaded those blank days which stood out from the calendar pinned to the wall by the washing machine: most of the days had places and times highlighted, but every once and a while a day would stay completely white and blank. Devoid of activity.
The empty days filled me with dread. A day of cabin fever and nothing planned seemed like the worst kind of punishment – a long hot day with nothing to look forward to, boredom reigning supreme.
Times have changed. The metamorphosis stuns me, still.
Now that calendar is blank, except for all the crossed out events I dutifully planned over the winter. Goodbye annual trip to my home state of Washington. My son’s second year of overnight sleep away camp was cancelled. Swimming lessons, street fairs, even the usual blow-out birthday bbq bash we throw for my son is no longer.
If I’d known a year ago how empty my calendar would be in 2020, I’d probably feel sorry for myself and put in a preemptive order of prozac for myself. Imagine this, though. I’m happy with my white spaces schedule. The days are blurring together in a set routine of nothing, and … it’s okay.
I’ve talked about boredom with my kids, before. This summer is amplifying the sentiment of “only boring people get bored”. Yes, there are plenty of times they whine at me. We may be falling into a habit of just a little too much screen time than I’m comfortable with, but my kids are also playing with each other in ways I’ve never seen before. Going out of the house is the exception to the rule, not the normal any longer.
Yesterday I took the three kids to Costco. It was the first full-family shopping trip we’ve taken together since February. Is this as exciting as a trip to a theme park or like traveling to a different state? Of course not. But to my kids who haven’t seen much beyond our four walls and the beach for the past several months, it was an adventure.
These are the moments I’m trying to appreciate, to notice. Routines can feel special. After a spring spent inside at home, we are well prepped for this long summer of nothing. Fall is coming, and what it brings is still a mystery to us. My daughter is supposed to start kindergarten and I’m starting nursing school. Will I have a 5th grader and kindergartener learning at home? Will I have to teach my daughter sight words all while learning remotely about dosages and nursing care plans?
I have learned over this pandemic that stressing about tomorrow does absolutely nothing good. I live in the moment, much like my kids do. We wear our masks like good boys and girls and do our best to stop the spread by staying home and staying isolated. And life is good.
So maybe the cure to my anxiety last summer was oddly enough a world changing tragedy. It makes me realize how lucky I am to be stuck at home and bored.