• Hayley Hengst

I'm Nervous for Quarantine to End....but It's Not Why You Think

"Social-distancing". "Shelter-in-Place". "Quarantine". Until a few months ago, these words/phrases were mostly foreign to me. Then I started hearing them....and then hearing them more....and my nervousness mounted. I'm an on-the-go kind of gal. I'm also the kind of person that likes to get into a routine and stick to it. On top of that, historically, I have not done well just being "stuck" at home with all three of my children. I feel restless. It bothers me when they are crawling the walls. It's excruciating to have to sit by and watch a clean house turn into a filthy one, in under 10 minutes. Because of that, "let's get the heck out of here!" has kind of been my motto, dare I say my "parenting philosophy", for the last ten years now. So we scuttle around every day to the gym, to the store, to this errand and that errand and this playdate and that fun activity. We say "yes" to the sports, "yes" to the Friday night plans, and "yes" to the baby shower/birthday party/bookclub meeting. That's just how we do life, and because of this, I tiptoed VERY hesitantly into quarantine, not at all sure it was even within my mental or emotional capabilities.

A few days into it though, I remember thinking to myself, "I wonder how many days it's going to take before I start to go crazy, because so far....I'm not". Not only was I not going crazy, I was sunning myself in the driveway, watching all of my boys best basketball tricks, and kind of loving it. In normal life..MY normal life...there's no time for that. "Cool trick dude, however, we are running late for (fill in the blank) so I'll have to watch more later" (and then "later" never actually came, because we'd be running late for something "later", too). Now though....we've got all the time in the world. I'm nervous that when quarantine ends, I'm not going to have time to watch basketball tricks anymore.

Early into all of this, I feared "my boys are going to be so devastated to not be around their friends anymore. This is going to be so hard for them!". But then.. out of sheer necessity/boredom/desperation...they began to play with each OTHER. This never happens! They have little brotherly inside jokes now, and games they have constructed. Don't get me wrong...they full-blown cage fight each other too, but....I've heard them giggling together more this last month, then I have their entire brotherhood. I'm nervous that when quarantine ends, and they go back to hanging with their friends, this new bond they've formed is going to break.

The last seven weeks have just been me and my boys, almost all of the time. They aren't having to compete for my attention when they talk to me, because there isn't anyone else around to compete with. In our "normal life", where we are with friends so much of the time, it's often "the moms are trying to talk to EACH OTHER right now. You guys go play". I don't mean to be that way. It's just that, if I'm being honest, I'd RATHER talk about grown-up things than Fortnite and superheroes, but they need to feel important and interesting, too. I'm nervous that when quarantine ends, and other conversation partners begin to emerge, my attention will be deflected again, and their New and Improved/Fully Engaged Mom will begin to fade....whether she intends to or not.

I'm nervous that the creativity will end. I created a whole master list of "When Everyone is So Bored, That Shit is About to Hit The Fan, Do These Things". There were books to read. Movies to watch. Games to try. Ideas to implement. Food to cook. Drives to take. Skills to learn. We've made our way through a whole lot of them, and it's been fun. In normal life, the schedule is too jam-packed to allow for creative forms of entertainment.

I'm nervous that I won't be outside as much. I've found that, though it's harder and hotter, it's more fulfilling and better for the soul, to run outside. I've seen lakes and wildflowers and neighbors and deer during my runs this last seven weeks. Before that, it was just the cardio-theater screen.

I'm nervous that I won't end up organizing my garage (somehow, that item on the Master List keeps getting shuffled to the end). I'm nervous I won't be able to keep up with my new "one book per week" trend. If I'm being honest, I'm nervous at the prospect of having to wear a bra again, too. It's been a while.

So while parts of me are celebrating the prospect of being able to see friends again, and maybe drink a margarita at a restaurant (which actually...IS that even that exciting? Drinking one at home is pretty pleasurable, and a lot cheaper), I'm hoping that somehow, some way, SOME parts of this experience can be remembered and preserved.

How do YOU feel about quarantine coming to an end?

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