Our family has been no stranger to The Unexpected over the past couple of years. And yet, this COVID-19 crisis, and quarantine, and a quarter of the school year left unfinished, and now my 8-week furlough from my still-new job, still took us by surprise.
When we found ourselves suddenly in a position of having to move out-of-state last year, I realized that we have to watch out when we find ourselves getting too comfortable because that’s when things tend to get turned upside-down. But I can’t really say we’d gotten particularly “comfortable” or “complacent” after only 8 months in our new home. We weren’t ready for another shakeup!
I remember when we were facing all of the uncertainty a year or so ago, when my husband was living and working in another state and the kids and I were crashing with my parents, waiting for our house to sell. Things were tough. Tempers were short. We were all trying to adjust to a new, though temporary, normal.
Ultimately, I had to institute a little phrase for us. Actually, it was just a couple of letters. E. G. It was kind of like our “safe word.” When our moods flared and we were on the edge of meltdowns (adults included!), anyone involved just had to call out, “E.G.!”, and we’d all take a breath and step back.
E.G. stands for Extra Grace. Grace is a safe word no matter how you look at it, and we definitely needed to show each other an extra helping during those difficult days.
And here we are facing more difficult days. Our closest family is 4.5 hours away, in another state, and we have no idea when we will see them, or any of our extended family, next. We’ve had to put a hold, for the most part, on nurturing the friendships we’ve begun here. Unlike others who have already been quarantined and homeschooling for weeks, my stay-home stint has just begun. The toughest part about all of this is that we don’t know how long it will last (our current Executive Order goes through June 10), how slow and painful the process will be of returning to “normal,” what “normal” will look like on the other side, and whether we’ll have to do this all over again in the near future.
So we definitely need to show some E.G. right now. To our immediate families, with whom we’re spending a lot more time than normal. To our friends and family who don’t live in the house with us, who are all negotiating this at their own pace and with their own set of restrictions. And to ourselves. These are Weird Times, and we can’t forget this when everything piles up and we barely recognize our lives anymore.
Grace is for everyone. And thank goodness there’s no shortage.