Being American

Roe v. Wade-America, what the??

As a society, I can’t believe how far we’ve come in the last 50 years, and how one ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has destroyed that.

The Constitution of the United States is there to protect the liberty of choice, and Norma Leah Nelson McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, must be livid in her grave.

People all over the world are protesting because women’s freedom of choice has been violated yet again…

Photo credit to Anna Brasier

As a way of helping people to understand why access to abortion is a fundamental right, I would like to publicly share my own story and my own involvement with this topic. Part of me is afraid that this may cause me to lose friends, disappoint or alienate people, but this is my contribution to this worldwide protest. It’s a story like millions that are out there, and it’s important to me that it is shared…

It was 1986 when ‘more’ was not enough…

The fashion was crazy bright colors, and you needed to be well accessorized. But most of all, your hair had to be big.

Rachel’s mom dropped us off at a fourteen and older dance club called the Ritz in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two excited 14-year-old girls and our first time at a club. We paid our $5 and entered the dimly lit dance floor, squinting at the moving lights. The fog machine made us cough and conversations ceased because the blaring music. We danced to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Dead or Alive and Cindy Lauper. Halfway through “Bizarre Love Triangle,” two guys approached us and asked us to dance. I had danced with boys at church dances before, but I was nervous because this guy looked cool dressed in white pants and a white jacket. He glowed under the black lights. He was cute, and he could dance. We yelled our names at each and lied about our ages. His name was Antonio; smiling nervously at each other, we danced most of the night together. When the club closed at midnight, we exchanged phone numbers.

Antonio went to Cypress High School, the opposite side of town from where I went to school, and we were too young to drive so we spent ten months talking on the phone and writing letters. The calls would last for hours in cramped positions, with the curl stretched out of the telephone cords looking for some privacy. I always wanted to know when we would see each other again. We tried to make plans, maybe his mom would drive him over on Saturday. But I would wait for hours only to be disappointed because he never showed, this happened more times than I’d like to admit. He always seemed to come up with a different excuse. These would be the first of many lies said to me by men.

One day, probably after I tried to break up with him after too many disappointments, he rode his bike to my house during the school holidays. My siblings were not home, and my mom was at work. After his big ride, he was tired and sweaty, and I got him a drink of water. I couldn’t stop smiling because it was hard to believe he was actually in my house. I gave him a tour, but he was mainly interested in my bedroom.

A teenage bedroom always tells a story.

I expressed myself through different shaped Avon perfume bottles lined up tallest to shortest on my dresser, walls plastered with magazine cut-outs and Prince posters. My favorite childhood toys sat front and center on my neatly made bed. All my secrets were on display and ready to be revealed if the right questions were asked. 

Me in my bedroom at 15 years old

My bedroom was my safe place, my haven, the only place I made the rules, and the rest of the family had to respect them.

I showed Antonio my favorite things, including a school award, pictures of my best friends and the first doll I still had. He pointed to my teddy bear on my bed, asking about it. I flopped down on my bed and cuddled Einstein while telling him the story about when I was two and spent a few weeks in the hospital.

He sat next to me, leaned in, and kissed me.

The kissing got heavier and heavier. Before I knew it, he was on top of me, his hands going up my shirt. I was trying to sit up, saying, “hang on—stop, I need to get—, Let me up! He had unzipped and pulled my shorts and undies down enough to get his foot on them and push them down to my ankles in one sudden maneuver. I was lying there embarrassed, half-naked and in trouble.

His pants were already off, and I can’t remember him taking them off. He laid on top of me, trying to kiss me again. Trying to pull myself up and out from under him, I found my head in the corner of the wall with nowhere else to go. His hands were wrapped tightly around my wrists and he kept repeating, “I promise you’ll like it once I stick it in.”

As much as I tried to fight him off, he was too strong. He had hipped his way between my legs. For all the struggling and yelling “No!”, I couldn’t stop him.

We should not have been alone at my house, in my room, or on my bed. I just never thought this would happen. I didn’t know we were old enough to do anything like that. After that, I realized there was a lot I didn’t know or understand about boys.

***

Once he was done, I lay there numb, holding back the tears. He rolled off me and put his pants on. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do or what was coming next. As soon as he got up, I covered myself with the sheet and rolled into a ball away from him.

He turned and said, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I said, “Tell you what? I was telling you NO!”

He said, “No, that you were a virgin.”

I didn’t even know my sheets were covered with blood.

He got up to use the bathroom but turned and said, “This is your fault. You know, you’re just too sexy, and I can’t control myself around you.”

After he shut the bathroom door, I quickly got dressed. When he came out of the bathroom he said, “I’d better go.”

I think he was at my house for maybe an hour but I wanted him to leave. I needed him to go because I didn’t fully understand what had happened.

He left and I stripped my bed and threw my sheets in the wash; I jumped into the shower and cried, feeling very sore below.

Nobody told me this could happen. Not my mom, not my older sister, no one. I wanted to be liked by boys, but not like this.

Antonio rang me the next day, and we continued our phone calls as if nothing had happened. I didn’t know how to be mad at him because I liked having a boyfriend.

Weeks later, I started to feel unwell. The sickness didn’t go away and seemed to be getting worse. My friend’s older sister asked if she could take me to get a pregnancy test, and that’s when I realized how you get pregnant, even if you didn’t like having sex.

A few days later, I called the clinic from my mom’s bedroom. I shut the door and dialed the number while I hid nervously on the floor next to her bed.

“Not good news, I’m afraid,” they said.

I rang Antonio. He told me to get an abortion, his cousin had one. I didn’t even know what that was.

I called my mom at work and told her why I had been feeling sick. The silence was so thick and I heard her heart break over the phone.  

My mom came home from work, and we talked. She was upset, of course, but had my feelings at heart. I felt only love and support from her. I told her what Antonio thought I should do. My mom came back to me a few days later and decided that abortion was the best option for me. She said I was too young to be a mother—my older sister had a baby when she was just eighteen. I trusted my mom. I had no idea what to do, so I followed her reasoning. After all, I was a child. Her child.

On a not-so-special Saturday, my mom drove me out to pick up Antonio in our wood panel station wagon. I slid over in the middle to let him in the front with us. It was a silent ride to the clinic on the other side of town. I went in. My mom & Antonito sat in the waiting room. This was something I had to do alone. I was in good hands. All the staff, nurses and doctors were friendly. They explained everything to me to ease my anxiousness, so I didn’t have any surprises about what was about to happen. The machine was loud, and the nurse wiped each tear. What had I done? How would God ever forgive me or love me again? I was a horrible person.

While in recovery, I asked to see Antonio. They told me he was gone. He had left minutes after I went in. I was embarrassed, cold, and damned; I wasn’t ready to face my mom yet.

A little bit of me died that day. I became a bit numb as the world became a colder place. I was no longer a child in a big curious world.

The U.S Supreme court ruling has brought this trauma back to the surface for me

It took me years to understand that what happened to me that day was rape.

My life would be very different today had my courageous mother not stepped up and made some hard decisions on my behalf.

I know that everyone should have the right to decide what is best for them and their bodies, and no one should be forced to do something they don’t want to do. As a virgin, I was forced to have sex when I didn’t want to, and without Roe, I would have been forced to carry a baby when I didn’t want to.

It’s crazy to think I had more freedom in 1986 than we now do today in 2022.

Growing pains, Life with COVID-19

I can do hard things

Hello. It’s been a while since I have written here and I’ve missed you.

The world has been totally different since this COVID thing was born. School, sports & travel have all been interrupted. The mental health issue is at an all-time high. Struggling relationships survived in lockdown, and other relationships took a nosedive.

Mine took a nosedive.

Over these COVID years, I have spent more time alone than ever before, felt my heart so full of love it overflows and I’m discovering what I really want out of life.

It’s been challenging, exciting and crippling.

Life has skinned my knees and elbows, but it has also wrapped me in a big warm blanket and made me feel cozy. I am proud of me. I am truly blessed, and I feel deeply every heart that has reached out and rallied around me. You know who you are. You lifted me when I ran out of steam. Thank you.

Movement and momentum have been my friends.

I can do hard things

I. CAN. DO. HARD. THINGS. I kept telling myself this over and over until I believed it and celebrated the little wins that made me smile. I gave myself permission to stay in bed when I needed to. I sometimes pushed myself harder than I needed to.

As you know, I live in Melbourne, and we spend a lot of time in lockdown. I had a lot of quiet time during the prickly times of the separation.

Sometimes I think COVID happened because of me. I needed the world to stop spinning for a little bit so I could sit in silence with my thoughts.

I don’t always know what I want, but I’m learning what I don’t want.

I am standing on the edge of new beginnings…

Australia, Life with COVID-19

Hotel Quarantine in Cairns

I packed Thursday morning before work. My two good friends (my double D’s) took me away for my soon 50th birthday next month. We went to Port Douglas in far north Queensland where it’s sunny and warm and also to our surprise there was an event called Carnivale going on.

We were in the warmth. We were on holidays. We were together. We were ready for anything. We talked, we cried, we ate. We danced, we laughed, we slept. We walked, we wrote, we shopped. We healed our hearts, asked questions of life, and shared our honest views of each other’s world. I wish everyone a trio like ours.

On our second to the last day, we went stand up paddle boarding on the Mossman Gorge. It was beautiful and peaceful. After having a relaxing for hours on the river, we came back to a text message from my boss telling me I needed to go get a COVID test. We turned on the news. A person who had recently been in South Australia hotel quarantine tested positive for COVID and had been shopping at the shopping centre I work at on Thursday evening. I worked that evening, and it was possible he could have been one of my customers. The announcement was anyone who had been to Highpoint Shopping Centre on Thursday 20 May needed to get tested immediately and go home until further notice, and here I am in Queensland.

Panic started to squirm its way into our lovely sunny holiday. We were due to fly out in almost 24 hours. This was a problem. I couldn’t safely and honestly answer the questions to allow me to get on my flight. We got onto the Queensland government website, and I filled out the contact tracing questionnaire sheet then rang the COVID hotline. The advice was to stay in our accommodation and get tested in the morning. My closest testing site was a 20 min taxi drive away that opened at 8.30 am the following day. We had to sit tight. The three of us gathered on the couch over cheese and crackers. We retraced our steps from the weekend. The fresh fruit and veg market in Cairns on FRIDAY, Shopping, dancing at the Court House restaurant, watching the fireworks, A cup of tea at a second-hand book shop. SATURDAY: Grocery store, beach walk, Mosh pit at the Siderbait concert, more dancing to live music at the Court House–me the serial hugger making friends on the dancefloor and ‘front row’ bestie at the concert.

Not to mention the few trips to the toilets. SUNDAY: Meandering up and down the stalls at the Sunday market, handing out by the pool the countless people we spoke to over the weekend. We had to laugh at our possible headline:

“Three mothers from Melbourne, Super Spreaders in the mosh pit at Spiderbait concert Saturday night.”

Phone calls were starting to be made to loved ones at home about the possibility that we may need to be in quarantine in Queensland for the next fourteen days. Work. Kids. Life. Potentially all about to be put on hold. We laughed because if we didn’t, the seriousness of it would have made us cry.

The thing that nobody knew the answer to is what shops did this person visit? There could have easily been 10,000 people in and out of Highpoint shopping centre that day. Did I serve him? If so, I rang him up behind the Perspex barriers that the first round of COVID brought with it. I could be safe. What if I had answered his question in the aisle? Maybe not safe. What if our conversation had turned to laughter and book recommendations to each other? Not safe. There were just too many unknowns at this stage. It all came down to 1) getting tested for COVID and waiting for the results 2) the centre management tracing his exact whereabouts through CCTV. Both of these things were going to take some time.

I slept okay but was on the phone early calling the Mossman Multipurpose Health Services precisely at 8.30 am when they opened only to find out that they won’t be opening the testing site today because they were understaffed. My only option now was an hour’s drive to Cairns and an hours drive back. Everyone I spoke to was very clear about getting tested asap and stay inside my accommodation. I also knew that Queensland Health would be contacting me this morning because of the contact tracing form I had filled out last night. We just needed to do more waiting.

A nurse from QLD health rang me to ask questions about my whereabouts at the COVID hotspot site, aka Highpoint shopping centre. After she got all the information she needed, I waited for her to ring me back. She was sweet, empathic and understanding of our situation. I had been in a recent COVID hotspot and possibly infected not just my two friends but half of Carnivale, which was full of people who came from somewhere else just for the weekend. The nurse rang back after instructions from Brisbane. The Cairns Police Dept would come and pick me up from Port Douglas and deliver me to Hotel Quarantine, where I would be isolated and tested in my hotel room, where at this stage could be my new home for the next fourteen days.

“What about my friends?” I asked.

“At this stage, we are only interested in you as you were the one at the hotspot.”

I hung up, told the girls and started packing. My last day in paradise was spent in my pyjamas, sitting on the tiled floor with my phone plugged, answering phone calls and questions from strangers who were all consulting with each other, not knowing what to do in this bizarre situation. Even my head was struggling to understand the severity of all that was happening. The only thing I knew for sure is that I was spending the night in hotel quarantine until the Queensland government knew I was not a risk to their state. Heavy-hearted, I called Jet Star and cancelled my flight to Melbourne that was leaving in a few hours. But I was happy my friends were able to make it home as per usual.

The driver rang my mobile to let me know he was downstairs. My friends walked me down. We said our goodbyes, not knowing what the next few hours, days or even weeks might look like, but they were safe to catch the flight back to Melbourne. We set out on the hour’s drive to Cairns. I took this time to finally send some messages to family and friends who were expecting me to be back in Melbourne tonight.

My driver was a lively, chatty guy who owned a tour guide business that was dormant. He has a fleet of busses he can’t use, let alone can’t sell. Working for the Cairns police has been a lifeline for him. I talked about his splitting his time between Hong Kong and Australia. Hong Kong is where his wife lives, separated not just by oceans but this world pandemic like so many others. Too many business and people have had to reinvent themselves. I’ve got friends who worked for Qantas Airlines who are now working in hotel quarantine. It’s been a long hard few years.

When we were ten minutes away, my driver called the hotel to let them know. The hotel worker then shared with a lady who had been in quarantine only for a few days, tested positive for COVID and is about to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. As we get closer, the ambulance was pulling away. Will I breathe the same air? How safe is this place for me? The original guy ended up catching COVID on his last day in hotel quarantine in South Australia. His symptoms didn’t show up until yesterday, hence why everyone is scrambling now.

The ambulance lights hypnotised me as we pulled up into the parking spot where they just were. My attention then turned to the military guy who stood out front of the hotel and the six masked up officers I could see standing upright inside, all social distancing wearing bulletproof vests. It was an intimidating sight.

They had me wait in the van for about 5-7 mins before I was allowed to get out. I watched a lady walk past the front of the hotel with a box of wine. The military guy came out to make sure she didn’t get too close, but then she started talking to him. Maybe it was wine for someone inside quarantine? While I was trying to follow this wine box to its conclusion, it was my turn to go in.

I stepped out of the van, grabbed my bags and followed my driver inside. Now, as I write this, I can’t remember saying goodbye to the driver. I just found myself standing there wishing I had the guts to pull out my phone from my pocket and record this. Constable So and So stood in front of me very serious and asked me to say my name and date of birth out loud. I assumed he had some camera on his person. I felt like I was being recorded. He read from a laminated card. He told me I was here for fourteen days and that under no circumstances was I to open the door to my room unless they told me to. “From time to time, the alarms go off. You are still not allowed to open your door. If it is serious, we will come and get you. The only time you are allowed out of your room is if there is a fire in your room. Do you understand?” I nodded and said yes. He then pointed me to another officer. This officer gave me a stack of paperwork. I needed to fill out the top three sheets then slip them under the door to my hotel room ASAP for my COVID test. As he handed everything to me, I realised this was the first COVID test that I will take. I’ve taken my son several times, but this will be my first brain poke.

I grabbed my paperwork, and he introduced me to another officer. This officer towered over me, so tall that I just had to comment. I guessed 6″ 6 and was right. We got into the lift together. I was asked to social distance as much as possible and to not touch anything. It was a small lift that only 4 or 6 people could squeeze into in standard times. I complied. We reached our floor, and I followed him to my room. I noticed he was carrying a yellow laminated paper with my name written on it in black marker. I saw the same signs on some of the doors we passed, others here in quarantine. He struggles with the key but eventually let me in and kept the key. “There is a phone near the bed if you need anything”, the officer said, and I said thanks. As the door shut behind me, I could hear him sticking my yellow laminated sign to my door. I was officially in hotel quarantine.

The room was freezing. I put my bags down and looked for the air conditioner switch on the wall. I couldn’t turn it down, so I turned it off. Then I opened my bag and found my coat that I thought I would only need to travel back to Melbourne. I pulled out my phone and did that video, showing people my room and the surprisingly big balcony. I knew about hotel quarantine’s lack of fresh air in Melbourne, and here I had a balcony. I didn’t feel like a prisoner, but I didn’t know what to do either. So I turned on the TV and saw I had lots of movies at my disposal. I called the front desk to ask if I needed to pay for the film. They told me they were free. With my coat on, I crawled into bed and propped myself up on some pillows.

I had no idea who was in this room before me and who cleaned this room. Was it done correctly? I had to trust that it was. The guy in South Australia who started all of this for me caught COVID in hotel quarantine. I pushed the decorative pillow away as it didn’t look like you could put that in the washing machine, laid my head back and searched for a movie to start.

Shortly after I started the movie, I had knocked on the door. I got confused. Was I not supposed to open my door? The TV was up loud. I couldn’t figure out how to turn it down, and then it wouldn’t turn off. In a bit of a panic, I went to the door and said hello? Then I said wait and scrambled for my mask. I opened the door to see two lovely nurses dressed head to toe in PPE. They were here to give me my COVID test. They wanted me to stay in the room with my back up against the door, ensuring I stayed inside my room and stay side to them while they did the test, and they were safe from me breathing on them. But the way they were telling me what to do was confusing, and at one stage, I ended up turned around with both hands on my front door. Laughter emerged as it looked like I was about to get frisked. They stuck a swab in my mouth, tickled the back of my throat, then stuck the same swab deep enough in my nose to make me almost cough sneeze, all while my movie was blaring from the TV.

I went back to the tv to try then figure it out. I was able to stop the movie. The room was still cold, and I realised how hungry I was. My beautiful friends sent me with most of the food from our apartment: I had a dish of fresh veggies cooked in oil and garlic, a loaf of bread, a bottle of olive oil, a box of salt, a few squares of chocolate, three limes, a passionfruit and an avocado. I grabbed out the cooked veggies, got back under the covers and ate. By now, it was around 5.30 pm. My friends should just be arriving at the airport.

I couldn’t figure out how to start the movie, so I started another movie when my phone rang from a Queensland number.

“Hi, this is Andrew from Tropical Public Health Services. They have reviewed the CCTV footage of Highpoint. The guy was never near your bookshop. You are free to go right now. You can stay the night in the room if you want, or you can try to catch your flight to Melbourne.”

“What? Wow. The flight I cancelled?”

I got off the phone with him rang the airline. Having no luck on the phone, I texted my friends at the airport and told them I was cleared and to try to get me back on the flight. I called the front desk to ask how long it would take a taxi to get here and how far away from the airport was I? A 5 mins wait for a cab and a 10 min ride to the airport. This just might work.

In 12 mins, my friends got me back on the flight. Andrew at the QLD Government cleared me to the hotel police, and I stood bags in hand waiting for my police escort down to the lobby.

I met my friends at the gate with 10 mins to spare before we boarded our flight. I crawled into bed just after midnight, my head still spinning from the days’ events.

Currently in Victoria, we are in our fourth COVID lockdown. I am home safe with my kids on day two of a “snap seven-day lockdown’ statewide.

A world with COVID-19, Australia

COVID – Lockdown 2.0

I do not know one single person that has tested positive for COVID.

NOT ONE! That includes all my family and friends across two countries. I don’t even know someone that knows someone that has tested positive for COVID. I feel so far removed. But the morning news on replay keeps COVID front of mind. The bare shelves at the grocery store keeps COVID front of mind. The fact that nobody is allowed in my house at the moment keeps COVID front of mind.

I am hiding inside my house as if everyone around me has it. If I breathe the same air, I will die. That’s what my reality feels like right now, again.

I joke, but I do know how serious this is. I’ve listened to the devastation its causing my home country via my favourite podcasts. Entire families killed off by this coronavirus. My heart breaks and I know I am living among the lucky ones—the frustrated ones.

<img src="https://themelbournemormon.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/e147a-matt-seymour-69zvsgrejy4-unsplash.jpg?w=1024&h=769&quot; alt="<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@honeypoppet?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Sandie Clarke</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/lockdown?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a&gt;
Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Officially we are in a second lockdown, well for Melbourne anyway. Australia had 191 cases overnight a few days ago—America the overnight numbers soaring over 35,000. But 191 was too many for Australia, especially since most of those numbers came from Victoria, the state I live in and since that day numbers have risen.

Don’t get me wrong.

I support this lockdown.

I want an excuse to close the world out.

Stop letting people in.

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

I’m an early riser.

My eyes open at 5 am, and usually, I am ready to start the day. But not today. Today I rose and went back to bed. Surprised my body let the sleep come again. I peeled myself out of bed close to 10.00 am, not like me. I had Vanilla Coke and lasagne for breakfast (don’t judge me), again, not like me. No morning walk, definitely not like me. It’s an off day. I’ve accepted it and so should you.

Nothing is normal anymore. Everyone feels it–an uncomfortableness that has spread right across the oceans.

Last week I was on a walk with a friend (when we were allowed to walk together), she took a phone call that she knew was coming. Her boss had to let her go again. Yes second time since COVID she was fired from the same establishment. She took it in her stride. She is beautiful and optimistic.

Now I am eating all the chocolate in my house. Everyone is panic buying pasta and toilet paper again. I need more chocolate.

The next six weeks we can only leave the house for the four following things…

  • To buy food.
  • Exercise.
  • Work. If you are an essential worker.
  • Taking care of the elderly.

They are pulling people over again but, this time the tickets are $1600.00 on the spot fines, not the $1,000.00 like before.

Schools are not officially closed yet, instead, they have extended the school holidays by one week. Teachers are due back next week to get organised, back to remote learning. Everyone knows it: some happy, some sad. I don’t know what I feel anymore.

My son’s sports have been so off and on that, I don’t even know what day it is.

Photo by DICSON on Unsplash

During the first outbreak, I became a statistic of COVID, back in April. I’m a number among many other people that make up numbers. I’m not ready to share just what that is yet. But it’s been my reason for keeping the covers over my head, eating too much chocolate and lasagne for having breakfast.

Be patient with me. I need to be patient with me.

So it seems COVID is here to stay. COVID is our new normal. So chin up, take a deep breath in and let’s move forward. WE GOT THIS! Or at least that’s what I tell myself and what my friends have been telling me.

One thing for sure, I have enjoyed this much slower pace of life.

A world with COVID-19

Confessions of a ‘Sad’ Serial ‘Non’-Hugger

I feel like I woke up in some strange dream that I can’t get out of. A bizarre version of Footloose, where hugs are banned, not music. A real nightmare for people who thrive on connection. It doesn’t always have to be a physical thing, there are people I am happy not to hug, but nothing beats a long warm comfy embrace from someone who truly cares about you.

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

Hugging just makes the world a better place and to distance yourself from, well… EVERYBODY. It’s hard on everyone but especially huggers. But I’m learning how to adapt.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a cheerleader for STAYING AT HOME! I am embracing, STAYING AT HOME! I think everyone should be STAYING AT HOME if they can, where they can, when they can.

Photo by Raj Vaishnaw on Pexels

But I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, who are out there fighting this thing from the frontlines, all medical staff, grocery store workers, post office workers, pharmacies, teachers for a time and more.

Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.

Just like the business around us who are forced to close their doors (to save lives), we too have to reinvent ourselves. Like the airline workers, they are being trained to help out in the hospitals-cleaning and changing bed linen. Or the café owner who is still in business by selling their yummy bakery goods at a table in the front of their now-closed café. Or the famous chefs, who are now selling their delicious pasta online.

So now I send my hugs and love solely via texts messages, FaceTime and phone calls. It’s a bit like everyone has moved to their own country or planet.

The worry is real.

It’s a scary, uncertain time. I tell my kids that one day they will be able to tell their kids about all of this. As we stay at home and shelter our little ones from the big bad frightening news on TV, it’s almost like it’s not real. Like the whole world is on an extended ‘staycation’. Especially if you are lucky enough to still have an income and not directly know anyone who has contracted the virus.

But each morning I watch the 6 am news headlines, while my family sleeps, just to see what world I have woken up to. The world is changing hourly. And I especially worry about my loved ones overseas. Two of my siblings are nurses and many other family members work in hospitals. They are on the frontline in a country which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases world-wide. I’ve heard their war stories. It’s not pretty.

CANCELLED

Just three weeks ago, I was out to dinner with two good friends. We caught up and had burgers in the city (such great burgers). We laughed, we hugged, we sat together as our mobiles kept dinging with new information. This was the day after the Grand Prix was cancelled. I think that’s the first time I really noticed the panic buying, the NBA cancelled the rest of their season. The Melbourne comedy festival, The Yackandandah Music Festival, Sydney Writers festival, all cancelled. Every gathering over 500 people, CANCELLED.

Just two weeks ago, there were 198,000 cases of COVID-19 in the world with less than 8,000 deaths. Today we have over 785,000 cases and 30,000 more deaths today. This thing is silent. It’s invisible and it’s shaping our future by the hour.

Just one week ago, the walking etiquette was to smile or say good morning as you pass someone on the trail. Now when I go for a walk, I cross the street or if I have to pass them, we give each other plenty of room while trying not to offend each other. And nobody was surprised when they finally postpone the XXXII Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July 2021. All you can do is smile and know that these are weird uncertain times and hopefully this will all be a thing of the past come September. Yes, September, fingers crossed.

Are you family-isolating?

Try to give each other space inside the house. Share Netflix time or leave someone home alone while the rest of you go out on your nightly walk. For those of you who celebrate Easter, decorate your house. Do Easter crafts. Make bread together. Go on bike rides and take selfies out in front of all your friends’ houses and send the photo to them later. Learn how to make pasta. Treat this time as a gift of being together.

Make cookies and drop them off at your neighbours’ house. Ring the doorbell just to make them nervous and excited all at the same time. I can’t tell you the last time my doorbell rang.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

Reacquaint yourself with all the little things that make you smile. Like, have a shower with your favorite playlist turned up loud. Start a gratitude journal and write 4 things that you are thankful for, watch an old movie that you love and try not to cringe when they stand so close to each other and know that someday soon we will be able to have dinners and birthday parties and gatherings again. But in the meantime, tell me what’s going on at your house? What you are doing to keep smiling during this crazy. Let me know, I need ideas…