To date, more than 233,000 people across the globe (NY Times) have contracted the COVID-19 Coronavirus. And 17,000 of those cases have been right here in Spain, which is now considered one of the top three most badly affected countries battling the epidemic. As Spanish residents like us wait at home in lockdown mode, the world is bracing itself for what comes next.
Being isolated from family, friends, coworkers – it all feels so confusing! And turning on the TV or reading news articles doesn’t exactly provide clarity and comfort. It’s hard to decide what source to believe anymore!
So, I’ve taken a major step back from my usual “glued to the TV” approach whenever something big happens in the world. I’m putting my time into schooling our kids, feeding the family, cleaning our home and taking one day at a time.
And while life seems to have dramatically slowed down, it’s also given me some great perspectives. Being on lockdown certainly wasn’t our choice, but it’s taught me a few things I just had to share…
What One Week in Coronavirus Lockdown Has Taught Me
First, Being Busy is Overrated
Turns out, my kids are so much happier when they’re not dragged all over the place. Actually, we ALL are!
This doesn’t mean when the lockdown is lifted, I’ll be cancelling all of their extra-curricular activities. We understand how important these activities are to their development and character-building.
This is where I see them truly shine!
But during this time of no contact with the outside world and only immediately family as company, the kids seem really content. It doesn’t mean they don’t have their typical sibling quarrel – but for some strange, kind of eerie reason, the lockdown has actually chilled us all out a bit.
No demanding schedule. No rushing around to catch a train. Racing out the door, frantically searching for socks and shoes.
Just being. Because we have no other choice.
It makes me wonder about time. How we’re always fighting for more of it yet continuing to add things to the calendar. When the world suddenly comes to a screeching halt and time is all we have to fill our day, it isn’t all that terrible.
Second, My Kids Aren’t Actually That Different
When people ask me which parent our kids take after, it’s an easy explanation. “Ohh they’re total opposites!” I would always exclaim with a laugh.
My son is the twin of my husband – both physically and emotionally. Very literal and inquisitive.
Our daughter tends to be more like me. Creative, bouncy and more emotional. We’re also both middle children – so that should tell you something!
And the baby? Well, she turned out to be a blend of us both! Quiet and chill when she wants to be. Fierce and unstoppable at other times.
But after spending one week in tight quarters with all three of them for endless hours, I’ve realized – they aren’t all that different.
They all enjoy attention, have massive imaginations, are downright hilarious most of the time and love to earn rewards. They each have a competitive side, love junk food and are irresistably ticklish.
And even though they don’t think I’ve noticed, they really are each other’s best friends.
Playing pretend Harry Potter and casting spells on one another, building pillow and chair forts, creating obstacle courses down the hallway. These memories being made, all thanks to the country-wide lockdown in Spain, will be cherished as some of my favorites.
Suddenly these three kids who I couldn’t imagine being any more different are a little united team. And it’s been so much fun to watch.
Next, I Love My Alone Time
I’ve always been really independent – sometimes to a fault. My family used to tease me that when I went away to college, I constantly forgot to call home. Kind of became a running joke!
It’s not that I don’t care – I just tend to get lost in my own responsibilities and personal goals for the day. I’m working on it.
But, one thing I know for sure is that I do love my alone time.
Let me rephrase that. I need my alone time. Don’t get me wrong, a family of five with all the noise and chaos means loads of fun and always a party!
What it also means is…answering the same question about Mario Cart six times. Then once more.
Taking a hot shower while a little one stands on the other side of the curtain requesting a snack.
Rubbing two, sometimes three, boo-boos (injuries) at the same time.
Nearly severing a toe after stepping on yet another Barbie shoe or Lego piece.
I love my three angels with every bone in my body. But they each have different needs and soak up all of my energy!
And when challenged with the task of being locked in a 1,000 square foot apartment for 14+ days, I realized I would go any distance for a second of alone time. Yesterday I considered eating my lunch in the bathroom. Just to have some peace and quiet.
A moment to hear myself chew.
And to be honest, if that’s what it takes until this lockdown is lifted, so be it! At this time of global instability and uncertainty, us mommies need to take care of ourselves HOWEVER possible!
No judgement zone here, ladies.
And Last, The Spanish Culture Has Stolen My Heart
If you’ve been following the blog, you probably already know this isn’t a new revelation for me. Time and time again, I’ve been amazed by the kindness, charity and sense of pride that comes with being from Spain.
But nothing beats the impression these last few days have made on me!
Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. It started Monday evening around 8pm when we heard hollering and applause coming from our front balcony. Tony and I ran to the bedroom to check it out and of course, join in!
The next morning, I read the cheering was a tribute of thanks to all the health and emergency workers that, despite their high-risk professions, were working around the clock to treat and prevent. How touched I was to hear that!
This applause will continue every single night at the same time until the lockdown is lifted and Spain treats its last patient. I’ve loved explaining this to my kids.
In the days that have followed, countless videos have surfaced of residents taking to the balconies to “perform” for their neighbors.
Someone playing a piano while another nearby bellows on the saxophone.
An opera singer’s serenade echoing the air in Plaza Molina.
A disco DJ pulling his smoke machine and turntables outside to ease people’s anxiety with rhythm and dance.
Police patrolling the streets while telling jokes through their radio loudspeakers.
So, one thing is for sure. If Spain is where we need to be “stuck” for the next however long, I’m okay with that.
It sure is a pretty special place to be.