Charity, Cars, & COVID-19 Craziness!

March 202

Well, let’s just say this month did not transpire the way anyone would have expected it to do so. To say that March brought more than just the beginning of spring, would be the biggest understatement of the entire universe. We started the month with business as usual…Trent went on a work trip to Raleigh, with the state of the world still evolving and not much impact to the Charlotte area. People were on guard but mostly just aware of what was going on in the world and not necessarily overly cautious, at least not where we live. I enjoyed a dinner with my longest friend, Susan, who had just moved back to the Charlotte area for her new job. We were both talking about COVID-19, but still unaware of exactly what was around the corner. 

Brayden attended one of her friend’s (Claire) birthday parties and while Terry and Fran watched the girls and Cooper, Trent and I joined Kyle, Abby, Justin, Aunt Patty, Uncle John, Dad, and Christel for a charity gala called “Celebration of Hope”, which had a Saturday Night Fever theme. It was great hanging out with the family, dressing up in our most fabulous ’70s swagger gear,  and dancing to some good disco tunes. We raised money for an amazing cause and even walked away with some raffle prizes. After the gala, Trent, Kyle, and I went to our local hangout to watch a band and party the night away. It was awesome. Brayden got all dolled up for her spring Cotillion Ball and looked stunningly beautiful. They served a five-course dinner and enjoyed dancing as well. I had a nice dinner out with Tonya and Heather at Foxcroft Wine bar…it was so great to just spend a nice evening with two of my favorite people. Hanleigh had her monthly Y Guides meeting, continued her Girls on the Run practices, and Brayden attended Annie’s birthday party at an escape room (wearing gloves!), which was followed by a slumber party. We also had a great lunch, socially distanced of course, with Mimi and Dadaw. This was our last meal out before quarantine! In other exciting news, we sold my Acura MDX, which was 12 years old, and now just have one car (until we get a replacement). I guess the timing is good for that considering we aren’t really going anywhere. Both of the girls had their last official play date before the COVID pandemic and mandates went into place. And these were all of our last hurrahs before the world came to a screeching halt.

We voluntarily started our own shelter-in-place on the afternoon of March 15th. We learned that evening that all public schools would be closed until at least May 15th. This brought an entirely new dynamic to the house. The gyms were still open and I was able to go workout on the cardio equipment, which was also socially distanced from each other. That did not last long before the gyms officially closed. I have to say that that first week of being quarantined with kids at home, waiting on their school assignments, and working a crazy amount of hours was extremely stressful. Every possible synonym to the word “anxious” is how I felt: nervous, uncertain, scared, sad, empathetic, angry, restricted…all of these were emotions I was experiencing every moment. When the world takes away a sense of in-person community and togetherness, hugging friends, and being social from someone who is an extrovert, it is extremely challenging. It’s like a light switch just turned off from the world that we know. No longer were there get-togethers at restaurants or gymnastics classes or hip-hop classes or study groups or exercise classes. No longer was I able to run past someone on a sidewalk and nearly brush by them when waving hello. Those days have been replaced by running out into the street purposely trying to avoid any breathing or coughing from another human being. Casual grocery store trips have been replaced by wanting to get in and out as quick as possible and nearly running away from people in aisles as to not come to contact with them. I hold my breath when I pass people (while I’m smiling and waving). Vacations are canceled. Celebrating milestone birthdays with family are canceled. Staying positive during this time is a real challenge but one I am up for. We are each doing our part and being compassionate and showing love for all of humanity by staying home and enduring this horrible storm until it passes. I have learned over the past few weeks to not look too far ahead, but rather take it one day at a time, live in the present and put my positive energy into a healthy future for the world. There are good hours and bad hours, good days and bad days, but just like everything else in life that isn’t going your way…this too shall pass and we will all be together again, celebrating, hugging, laughing, sharing, learning, and growing.

The second week after school was closed, the girls were officially given supplemental learning and assignments from their teachers. Considering that we are in meetings nearly all day long, it does make it challenging to ensure that the girls are doing their homework. I have found that the girls have been getting along better…they are hanging out in the hammocks in the backyard, playing basketball, playing tennis against the garage, playing cornhole, making origami…and we are joining them for many of these activities. These are little shiny lights of happiness that I am noticing during this crazy time. I am needing my own “me” time, at least during the weekends to be by myself and mentally reset. I don’t do very well being cooped up anywhere for very long, so I need this time to be by myself in order to be better when I’m around everyone else.

We were able to spend some great time hiking at Crowder’s Mountain one weekend as well as hiking at Anne Springs Greenway the next weekend; however, both of these parks are now closed because there were so many people visiting them that they could not ensure that there were safe socially distant procedures in place. Dadaw celebrated his 90th birthday on March 31st and while we could not video with them, we were able to talk to him for quite a while. It was so great to hear his voice and just let him know that we love him and are thinking about him. I can’t wait to give him a hug in person once this is all over.

If there’s one thing that has made itself very evident through this entire global pandemic, it is seen how people truly care about others. From reaching out to show support of healthcare workers to donating to local businesses to help them stay afloat; from daily zoom workouts with coworkers and countless happy hours with Triple B’s, Crazy B’s, Selfish Club, marketing ladies, and F3 guys…this overwhelmingly awesome power of community (from afar) and yearning for togetherness is incredibly beautiful. One thing I really have enjoyed is how there are no more shallow responses to the question, “How is your day?” (which is usually met with a dishonest “fine”). No. These icebreaker conversations are now met with raw emotion and openly honest answers. I hope this time of self-reflection will allow people to be more open and real with how they are truly feeling about whatever the topic may be. Because this is the essence of who each of us truly is. It is no longer about how we look on the outside, but what transformation is happening within each of us…during a time in which the world has essentially stopped. We are all in a timeout and it is up to each of us to search within and really get to know ourselves. I am trying to focus on the beauty of what is transpiring during all of this. I have hope that everyone will emerge with a deeper appreciation of the tiny things in life and of those they love. I also feel that this pandemic has shined a light on many of the things—such as healthcare and the socioeconomic divide—that need to be improved. I’m a true believer that things happen for a reason and we may not always know what that reason is, and many times it is much bigger than any of us, but I do feel we are slowly learning some lessons in all of this.

Brayden-ism: “That’s it. I’m sick of sitting inside being a bum. I’m going to go workout. I’m going to run up and down the street, do burpees, squats, pull-ups, and crunches!”

Hanleigh-ism: “You’re being obstinate, which means stubborn, which means vocabulary.”

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