Jennifer Thompson">

Sheltering in Place with a Family of Six: One Mom’s Thoughts

It’s a little after 8 a.m. and I’m sitting at the kitchen island with my Bible, to-do list, notebooks, computer and pen by my side.

My husband is working in our room at his makeshift office while the rest of the house is in a peace-filled state of slumber.  

This is how our days begin now. I look forward to these moments, first thing in the morning, when the house is still and the day feels hopeful and full of promise. 

I would be lying if I didn’t admit I like this new pace. Our lives have slowed down, come to a halt, in many ways. My husband and I lay in bed longer than we used to every morning. The kids sleep for as long as their little hearts’ desire — and I’m learning the hearts of teenagers desire many, many hours of sleep. 

I’m not enforcing much of a schedule at this time. That may change in the future, but for now, I recognize our days are usually booked solid and this is a unique time in our lives for rest that is otherwise hard to come by. 

In a typical day, the kids read and work on something to support their education, usually from a variety of websites. Our younger two wake up first and begin their schoolwork after breakfast, and our two children in middle school usually begin late in the morning, after they have finally woken up from a long night of good sleep. They are helping more around the house with chores, cooking and yard work. In the weeks to come, I hope to invest in each of them individually. What are their God-given strengths and talents? What do they each want to learn more about?

This is a time when we can supplement traditional education with real-life skills, new hobbies and allow them time to learn about subjects they find fascinating. 

We have hung hammocks out back for people to rest on during the day, and have begun to grow a small herb garden in our windowsill. Puzzles have been completed and books have been read. A togetherness and sense of unity exists in our home that is unique to this time. 

How long will we be in our home? I don’t know. Will the kids go back to school this year at all? I’m not certain. When will my husband go back to the office? Nobody knows for sure.

We are taking it day by day. 

I am trying to look at the silver lining. To see the good that is intermingled with the challenges. 

A friend said to me the other day, “It feels like God has put us all in time out.” Her words resonated with me. What are we learning in this global time out? 

We say we want rest and that we are overbooked and overcommitted. Now, we are not. 

In America, many of us are used to getting what we want exactly when we want it. Now, it’s not that easy. Items that were once plentiful are now hard to come by, and we really shouldn’t be going out in search of those items. Instead, we rely on others to find them for us.

And the Earth that so desperately needs our attention is finally able to heal a little. There has been a drastic decline in air pollution, as harmful emissions have significantly decreased in areas such as China, Italy and I would imagine here, as well. 

When I send my kids to time out, my hope is that they will take time to pause, think, reflect and hopefully come out ready to make a few changes to their behavior.

I wonder if we will make changes to our behaviors when this is over? 

Will we appreciate our loved ones more? Will we feel gratitude for things we once took for granted? Will we stop looking down at our phones as much — and begin to look more into the eyes of the people around us? Will we start to think more of others, and less of ourselves? Will we think more about the people who don’t have the luxuries we have, such as clean water, food and even toilet paper? 

I know my quarantine life doesn’t look like the quarantine life of everyone. I recognize I am speaking from a place of privilege. I know people are losing jobs and the economy is hurting. I realize people are getting up every day and putting their fears aside, and walking into work that may resemble a war zone. People who suffer with addiction, depression and anxiety may be struggling now more than ever during this time of isolation. Pregnant women who were elated at the thought of giving birth a few months ago, may now find their minds and hearts battling new anxieties. People are afraid of losing their jobs. And of getting sick. 

We are in desperate need of medical supplies. People are dying. And loved ones aren’t able to say goodbye. And there are many others in ICUs around the world who are very sick.  

This is the world we live in right now. And the experience is different for everyone.

I am trying, as I know many of you are, to make lemonade out of lemons. To see the beauty that lies in the pain. And to remember that this isn’t our forever. This is only our now.

Do I know what tomorrow holds? No. But what I’m realizing is that I never really did before. I thought I had a good idea, but I didn’t. I assumed life would always go on as normal, but that isn’t always the case.

We are not promised tomorrow. But we have today. We have this moment. It is a gift we have been given. And I hope to make the best of it.

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