On the weekend of February 22nd, we were driving up to Orlando for one of our fun Disney weekends when Iggy mentioned something about a virus that had been ravaging China for a couple of months and had moved on to Italy seemingly with similar power. I will be honest and say that even though I'd heard about the infamous "Coronavirus" a few times, it wasn't something I knew much about and by that time it wasn't at the forefront of my mind. He then proceeded to suggest that our Spring Break travel plans might have to change slightly if the situation kept up. See, for a while (since August of last year to be exact) I had been carefully planning a dream trip to Italy; I had sat for endless hours crafting our unforgettable itinerary, complete with tickets to a private audience with the Pope, Easter Vigil at the Vatican, VIP tickets to see Michelangelo's famous David and even a few relaxing days in Tuscany with wine tours around Italy's most famous wineries. I had handpicked the most beautiful hotels, deciphered the most scenic roads, researched hot restaurants and even planned to meet up with some family and friends along the way...the trip was truly designed to be a "trip of a lifetime", so I was certainly bummed by the sole remote idea of having to cancel or even postpone our dream Italian vacation...
The next few days were sort of a blur and all of a sudden Iggy's casual comment about not going through with our trip became a likely reality; Italy was a no-go for the time being so we quickly talked about changing up our plans for a stateside vacation instead. After looking at possible vacation spots, we settled on Boston and maybe a drive to Montreal since it's so close; tickets were surprisingly cheap and I found a couple of perfect Airbnb spots that would certainly make it a perfect trip.
A couple of weeks (or maybe just a few days?) went by and "Coronovirus" was no longer a distant threat, it went from being "a far away virus" to a "virus in our backyard" in a short time. All of a sudden, I went from planning dream vacations to planning meals and ways to keep the kids entertained at home for what was to come. Quickly businesses started to shutter, things started to slow down, people started to panic and school was canceled indefinitely...this was definitely not what we planned for!
Quickly I found myself feeling vain and guilty at the thought of having worried about not going to Italy just a few short weeks ago; I felt dumb for thinking that this wouldn't be MY problem...selfish maybe? I know it's natural to worry more when an issue affects one directly and because pretty soon we all realized that this was a WORLD problem, my worry instantly multiplied. Don't get me wrong..it's not like I wasn't worried before, but the realization that the virus became our new reality struck a chord in me. I overwhelmingly started thinking about everything that could go wrong; from health to job losses, to the economy crashing, to my parents getting sick, to being bored to death at home, to the world as we know it collapsing all around us... this was not what we planned for...this was not our Italy trip... or our Boston trip or even anything that we ever dared imagine...
And with that, we all realized that we're much smaller than we think and that life is fragile, that our dreams are vulnerable and that our plans are just that... plans, some which may never materialize and we have to learn to be ok with that because there are things that are much more important...like thousands of people dying, millions losing jobs, the world shattering around us!
I should be packing today, I should be checking the weather channel to see if I'd need a jacket or two for when I went strolling around the streets of Florence, I should be deciding which outfit to wear to meet the Pope, I should be looking forward to Easter mass in Italy, I should be hearing happy news and planning more trips but instead, I'm cooped up at home already tired of my own cooking, tired of my children whining over silly stuff and about to lose it trying to get my kids to do homework on lessons that nobody is teaching and especially hoping and praying that this will soon be over. I am praying for the world, praying that soon I can go back to church and pray some more there...
But the irony of this? I am still HAPPY... I still feel BLESSED...even though this was NOT WHAT WE PLANNED FOR...I am fortunate to have a house big enough to be comfortable all day, we have enough food to get us through this quarantine and the next one, I have enough hobbies to keep me entertained for months and enough faith to know that something good will come out of this because God makes no mistakes and I am sure that His plan is always the best plan!
A friend recently shared this article and it gave me so much perspective; it dawned on me that all the tears and all the frustration make up a shared feeling of humanity that keeps us connected in ways we never knew before. I have a newly found sense of acceptance of life's unexpected twists and turns and I am confident that we were meant to live through this, meant to understand that even when life doesn't go as planned, the sun will always shine!
So for now, I'm done panicking, I am done resenting the missed vacation, done stressing about distance learning or even about when this will end. I will bask in the good that will come out of this and make the most of our togetherness! And I will see you all on the other side! ;)
Happy Blogging! :)
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