Back in the thick of things

Mother and me in the 1990s.
Mom and me in the early 90s.

For Mother’s Day I’m visiting Mom. My daughter gave me the plane ticket as a Mother’s Day present. She remembered I said I wanted to visit my mom after this COVID thing allowed me to. My mom is in assisted living in a Seattle suburb. Since they only allow two people in assisted living at once, I had to make reservations each day visit Mom.

My daughter called me yesterday and asked for my schedule of visits. I asked her why? She said, “I know your mom is gong to be sad when you leave, so I’m going to call her when your visit is up.”

I got choked up. How thoughtful is that of a 25-year-old to think about her 89-year-old grandma in such a caring way.’

Today, my husband drove me to the airport. I was overwhelmed with the traffic there. Then the serpentine lines through security and marching orders being barked. It was almost overwhelming to me after a year of quiet solitude. My nerves calmed, I found my gate, and here I sit catching up on my blogging. I feel like things are back to normal, except for wearing a mask for hours on end.

I’m truly back in the thick of things.

mother and daughter at Pike Place Market Seattle
My daughter and me on our last trip to Seattle to visit my mom in 2019 pre COVID.

Have you traveled or done something “normal” at last? How did you feel?

I almost felt “normal” again

Waffles with my daughter

We got away for two weeks and life felt like it did before the pandemic. It gave me hope that yes, we will return to life before COVID-19 at some point in time. These past six months (or 165 days) of sheltering in place will come to an end.

With my husband required to work remotely, and my writing that can be done wherever, we returned to a tiny beach bungalow for the third summer in a row. We had planned this vacation way before the pandemic, but with the onset of working remotely, we extended our stay and had more time to escape the desert heat and relish in a change of scenery.

There’s something about the ocean that is spiritual and calming. I didn’t realize how much anxiety had been building inside me until I got to the Pacific, walked along the shoreline with waves lapping at my ankles. I could breathe. My back straightened up. I no longer felt trapped and scared.

A beach walk near Santa Barbara

The most freeing feeling was diving under a wave. I’ve always worn hard contact lenses — well since 7th grade anyway. I could never freely dive into a pool or ocean without goggles and worrying about losing contacts, which I’ve done more than once. Last fall I had cataract surgery and no longer wear contacts. It took me a couple dips into the ocean to realize that I could swim and dive under waves without fear.

Our kids joined us for a few days, along with my son’s girlfriend and one of her sisters. We shared meals outside, beach walks, and excursions into the city of Santa Barbara. That felt normal like prior summer trips. We’ve been visiting good friends in the area since before the kids were born. We caught up with other couples and had fun laughing and talking over meals, always outside and socially distanced. But what a nice change from all those months of no social activity.

Santa Barbara Harbor

Yes, I’m back in my house, it’s 109 degrees outside. But, I still have a little bit of that feeling of hope that things will get better. And life is good.

What experiences have you had that give you hope that the pandemic life will end?