I have birthdays to plan for next week. One of my sons is turning 6, while my daughter is turning 3. We previously had plans to hang out with friends aaaaaaaaand yeah.
I’m sure that I don’t have to explain to you what happened.
Coronavirus kills birthday dreams.
It had been happening to other people for about two weeks. Scheduled birthday parties at trampoline parks….cancelled. Birthday trips to the gymnastics arena….cancelled. Birthday big group play date…..cancelled.
And thus it became our turn. Birthday plans….cancelled.
My kids were disappointed naturally. We had some good frank conversations about COVID-19 and why it is so important that we stay away from our friends and loved ones right now.
But I was able to help with the grumpy feelings by promising them an alternative adventure……CAMPING!
We love camping. Normally I would try to take the kids camping in March, but the weather report looked decent, and all of the recommendations online and from the news were basically ordering us to stay away from everyone else.
What a better place to do that but in the woods, miles away from everyone else?
I figured that we’d stay in our campsite or head off to the trails. The kids would pee in the woods and we’d wash up really well if we used the communal toilets for any reason. Since we are obnoxiously loud, we were assuredly going to be avoided on either side of our campsite.
So I got out my camping list from last summer (and all of my notes) and started making plans.
Fast forward to today….
Today, I worked hard for several hours on my internet projects and then risked life and limb to go to the grocery store (and Wal-mart) to buy a few party supplies, camping treats, and a few toys to unwrap.
I was pretty jazzed about all of the planning and packing. Not looking forward to putting everything in order and then putting it up into the truck, but it was going to be worth it.
I was carrying packages into the house when I got a text, suggesting that I check out the news.
It was there that I saw that our state governor had closed all of the state campgrounds, effective essentially immediately.
It stopped me in my tracks. Literally. I think I spent about 15 minutes just staring blankly at my phone, then I started googling the news frantically to see the details and whether it was really true.
Turns out, it was not fake news this time.
The campground we had planned to go to was going to be closed.
However, the governor did make an exception for people who had made reservations.
I had considered making reservations, but I’d seen how empty the campground was, and how many walk-up sites were going to be available. I’m pretty free wheeling about reservations, and I figured we’d just roll up and drive around the loops to find the best spot ever. After all, the reservation sites only show you so much.
Bit me this time.
I sat there imaging myself explaining to my camping loving children that our plans had been cancelled.
I cried a little bit, not gonna lie.
But then, I was furious.
Furious at the world. For something no one could really control.
I had really rolled through this virus and social distancing and the worry about what will happen next without any major drama.
But it was time for some.
Tears rolling down my cheeks, I started looking at all the other campground in the area where we wanted to go, that weren’t managed by the state or under the control of the governor.
I called a few offices (all closed, naturally).
Then I managed to get the camp host of a small campground on the phone, a campground managed by the feds and not the state.
And they were open. Couldn’t guarantee anything, of course. But if we got there in the morning, we’d probably be able to get a few days in.
Honestly, I had no idea what this place looked like.
But I felt emboldened and empowered by my success, and I got back to packing.
Perhaps I was a little bit TOO excited/passionate.
My packing pretty much consistent of rage-stuffing clothing into tubs, grabbing everything I could find and pouring it into the right holes and boxes, and stacking all the tents, chairs, and other gear by the garage door to load up in the morning.
You know, I was really okay with everything that was happening so long as it wasn’t impacting my kids. Yes, the loss of school impacts them, but it wasn’t something that left them crying on my shoulder because the disappointment was so overwhelming.
Losing out on birthday camping….well, I knew that it would be devastating to them.
In these times of turmoil, I haven’t hid what has been going on in the world from them. We’ve talked about it. But I’ve also done everything possible to make things seems stable for them. Secure. Like they could be positive that everything would be there when they woke up the next day.
So that in 20 years, they’d have good memories about the time they spent at home instead of fearful ones. That they’d remember the time we spent together doing school, cooking, watching movies, playing in the yard.
Not crying and upset because the world was coming apart at the seams.
Even as I write this, I feel a bit ashamed about how upset I was about this whole thing. After all, I have a really good life. So far, the pandemic has not had any major impacts upon my life. I love to be alone anyway (aside from my kids) so this social distancing thing isn’t a burden.
There are thousands of people sick around the world, and millions more living in fear that they might get sick.
I think the lesson for me here is that it is normal for us to have feelings, even if they seem trivial as compared to others. One of the things that will help us make it through this difficult time is to express our feelings in a natural, normal way, without fear of shame or repercussion because our situation isn’t BAD enough.
But I definitely don’t want to get carried away with them, and lose that perspective (which I may have done today).
I’m blogging daily to help deal with all of this coronavirus stress. If you want to see what happened to me today (or yesterday) in this coronavirus world, here’s the link to my Daily Living in a Coronavirus World journal.
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.