I like planners. This is probably because I’m a slightly anxious person who thrives on consistency and knowing what to expect on a daily basis. Some months the planner looks fairly typical with appointments and reminders of deadlines written in the spaces. Other months, the squares completely disappear under a tangle of handwritten reminders… almost one on top of the other. That’s the overwhelming part. For obvious reasons, my planner has more empty spaces right now and sometimes I don’t pick it up for days. Honestly, it was time.
Much has been said during this quarantine about what people have missed. We miss shopping in certain stores, dining in, ballgames, concerts, traveling…. and the list goes on. Heck, I’ve said it, as well… mine is mostly limited to HomeGoods and Target. I’m learning that I’m more of an introvert than I previously thought. It’s surprising how much I haven’t missed. My son graduated last year, and my heart absolutely hurts for the seniors and their families…. years of anticipation of prom, awards night, and graduation ceremonies duly put off or canceled. I’ve missed my parents who live several hours away. My thoughts go to the people in hospitals and nursing homes who look forward to those visits from loved ones… how lonely they must be. On the practical side, others are missing a paycheck. Small businesses are struggling and some are going under . Life just doesn’t go on as usual for these whose livelihoods are affected. We can’t deny that all of us are missing something, some more than others.
But as I’ve had time to reflect on the minor inconveniences of being in a quarantine, so much has been brought to my heart and mind of the more important things I’ve missed before all of this happened. Do you ever look at your children and it’s as if time all of a sudden skipped? They seemed so young one day and almost grown the next. I’m not going to say we’ve sat down every night and played a game, but we have played games several times and eaten together. We’ve watched television. We’ve just sat and had conversations. My youngest and I have spent much time cooking pretend food in his little kitchen , playing in the sand, and flying kites… something I did with my older two that makes me very wistful of bygone days sometimes.
All of this newfound time to play, to do nothing, to hang out, to be lazy, to sit and talk, to listen, to just be with my children is a silver lining to an unexpected and unique time in our lives. I don’t miss my planner. I don’t want to completely go back to normal. Honestly, I was struggling before all of this happened. Family seemed to get my second-best. For me, this is a poignant and somewhat sad reminder that no amount of work, errands, appointments, or self-imposed to-do lists can replace the time spent watching those children grow… because time is fleeting, irreplaceable, and gone in a moment. And time with them is what I’ve been missing all along.