Our pandemic stories: Mother, student, editor finds room for gratitude through difficulties

                               Illustration by Matheau Faught/The EtCetera

About six weeks ago I stood in the soup aisle at Kroger and debated whether or not to stock up on some extra food. COVID-19 was starting to make its presence known in the United States, and the fear that was keeping me up at night was being stuck at home and not having enough food for my family.

“I’m being silly,” I told myself as I loaded up my shopping cart with Kroger brand chicken noodle soup and Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Now I wish I had bought more. It never even occurred to me that day to buy toilet paper.

Everyone’s COVID-19 story looks different.

For me, it means staying home all day with my kindergarten-age daughter. She was doing so well in school, but now it is up to me to make sure she completes the packet of work from her teacher and practices her reading.

“I’m bored,” or “I don’t want to do that,” are frequently heard expressions around our house these days.
Some days I don’t think I can deal with another cry of “Mommy!” from the other room.

Now that spring break is over, I have my own studies to think about. I’m taking six credit hours this semester. I’m also working with the Et Cetera, and sometimes I’m up past 2:00 a.m. editing and writing stories.

My husband works as a meat cutter in a grocery store, so he leaves the house every morning just like he did before the pandemic. We are thankful he has been able to keep his job, but my mind often wanders to what would happen if he were to be exposed to the virus at work.

My mother is 81 and lives in a senior living facility. I haven’t been able to see her for the last three weeks because her facility is closed to all outside visitors as a precaution against COVID-19.

So far no one at Mom’s facility has fallen ill and she is in good spirits. However, I worry the isolation she is experiencing will have a negative effect on her health. She really enjoys getting together with other residents to watch movies and play dominoes, but all social activities, including group mealtimes, are on hold for now.

Mom only lives 20 minutes from my house, but right now I feel like she is very far away.

The pandemic has made life inconvenient for my family, but there is still a lot to be thankful for. So far, we are all in good health and have enough to eat. We are spending more time doing activities such as reading and playing games together. I am able to keep studying and working for The Et Cetera from home.

Compared to what many people in the world are facing right now, I have no complaints.

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