Panic. Everyone is Panicking. A pandemic is on our doorstep and the media has caused family, friends and neighbors to give in to the hype that is causing mass hysteria. People are terrified.
We have been on lock-down here in Italy for almost 2 weeks, and my kids have been out of school for 3 weeks. I can honestly tell you that IT IS ALL GOING TO BE OK.
Surprisingly, I have been able to shift my perspective of this virus and instead of seeing what I’ve lost, I find myself focusing on what I have gained.
We typically spend our lives in a rat race; running from meeting to meeting or event to event. We spend much more time taking care of work and extracurricular commitments, and we’ve lost some of the basics of what it means to be mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and neighbors. Now, we have the opportunity to go back to those basics. To spend time with our immediate family. To watch and help them learn and grow. To lean on those nearest to us.
I have not become a homeschool mom by choice, and honestly would never have considered it as an option for my family. We have now been on a homeschool schedule here in Italy for almost 3 weeks. In the beginning, I honestly dreaded the fights that I knew would come over doing school work at home. We all did what we could to just get through it and be done with school for the day. It wasn’t enjoyable for any of us and it felt like a chore for all of us.
However, now that we have gotten into a rhythm with it, I think we are all starting to enjoy it. I’m getting to see what they do everyday at school. And I am watching them absorb new concepts and share in their frustrations when they struggle. We don’t have the morning “get up for school” battles that usually started our days’ all out on the wrong foot. We have a full breakfast most mornings and enjoy playing “Would You Rather” for three meals a day instead of two. We are enjoying doing group projects and activities together throughout the day. And while telecommuting every day isn’t an option in my husbands job, he is on a rotating schedule that allows him to be home with us every other day throughout the week. We are seeing much more of him than we normally do and that has also increased the morale within the family.
Now, I am not saying that when all this is over, I am gonna pull my kids out of school, bust out some awesome lesson plans and become a full time homeschool mom - but the extra time with my family has been great. Also, without the normal requirements on my schedule, I have found a little more time for me. Watching Master Classes for writing, really focusing on my Italian language learning, working out, and doing tons of organizing projects around the house that are usually nagging at me from the recesses of my subconscious. I have time to make healthy meals and do some meal prep work. And now that mail is sketchy, I’m saving money by not shopping online. We buy what we really need when we need it and that is it.
Those are just some of the impacts for my family personally. But what about for our environment. Factories are closed. Airlines aren’t flying as regularly. People working from home means less commuting and therefore less people driving. All of this may have horrible impacts on the financial economy, but our environment is definitely benefitting from the lack of air pollution, even if only briefly.
Maybe this is the moment when we realize that life doesn’t have to be as complicated as we have made it. Maybe this is the time when we decide to chose family and simplicity of life rather than big economy and ridiculous social calendars.
I’ll be the first one to say that I miss eating out and going shopping. And it’s an even bigger bummer that my kids and hubby are out of school and work and we aren’t traveling....but with the relaxed expectation that we have to be doing something, I’ve realized that we can actually turn our focus on ourselves, and the betterment of us, rather than the need to keep up with the rat race and its expectations.
I write all of this to you from my couch where I am sandwiched between two diligently working kids. The world is crazy all around us and I find myself experiencing thankfulness that we are together, healthy and happy. Don’t give in to the panic. Remember WHAT YOU HAVE and don’t focus on what you may be losing. Take each day as it comes. We will all get through this together.
Kara Davenport has been a military spouse for 13 years and has lived through 5 deployments, the Defense Language Institute for Chinese, and 7 military moves (including China and Italy). She currently resides in Naples, Italy with her husband and two children where she enjoys her favorite pastimes - traveling, eating, and writing. She loves Dr. Pepper in the morning, and wine in the evening, and Jesus all Day.
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