4/4/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Today’s my son’s birthday. We were planning a birthday party for him, before. “You know this year you get to have a big party, right?” I’d said to him. “Make sure you’re thinking about what you want to do and the friends you’ll want to invite.”

Fortunately, my baby-surgery recovery and our other birthdays made it so we didn’t get past that point in conversations. I didn’t have anyone or anything reserved. We hadn’t invited people. All that happened is that, when Utah’s governor first announced the schools were closing, my son asked, “What about my birthday?”

“Well, we’ll plan to have it after school’s back in session. If things go longer, we’ll have it in September.”

Looking at maps of the spread of Coronavirus, I’m thinking we’ll push his party till next year.

World map showing countries with COVID-19 cases
Global case numbers are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation reportexternal icon. ©2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Another event’s been affected by all this, for us. Kev (my husband) and I were planning on our first-ever trip to Europe. We had to commit to going last year, and have been paying toward it. I’ve also been stressing about it; thinking and praying about whom to leave which boy with for three weeks.

Although the organizers have not officially told us this is the case, we think it will be cancelled. More than the money is the idea that I was *this close* to something that’s been on my bucket list since I was a girl. Not much is still on that list, mostly because humans haven’t developed self-aviation.

Birthday parties, vacation plans, weddings, funerals, baby blessings, Disneyland, the dentist… all cancelled.

We’re not the only ones affected. A friend complained about missing their family cruise. Another listed all the concerts she couldn’t attend. What whiners, right? There are people dying after near-suffocation from a disease they contracted at Wal-mart.

But, we are not trying to be shallow. We are dealing with massive change.

My favorite example of this, pre-COVID-19, is in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. <Spoiler Alert> Planet Earth is bulldozed to make way for a hyperspace expressway. The protagonist, Arthur Dent, escapes with Ford Prefect (an alien in disguise) just before the bureaucratic aliens known as Vogons blast us to nothing. Arthur is an Everyman. When Ford tells him what’s happened, he can’t grasp that Earth and everyone on it is gone.

“There was no way his imagination could feel the impact of the whole Earth having gone, it was too big. He prodded his feelings by thinking that his parent and his sister had gone. No reaction. He thought of all the people he had been close to. No reaction. Then he thought of a complete stranger he had been standing behind in the queue at the supermarket two days before and felt a sudden stab: the supermarket was gone, everyone in it was gone! Nelson’s Column had gone! and there would be no outcry, because there was no one left to make an outcry! From now on Nelson’s Column only existed in his mind. England only existed in his mind. A wave of claustrophobia closed in on him.

“He tried again: America, he thought, has gone. He couldn’t grasp it, He decided to start smaller again. New York has gone. No reaction. He’d never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, has sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every ‘Bogart’ movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonald’s, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald’s hamburger.

“He passed out.”

I remembered this quote as I drove around on my once-a-week errands, feeling a slight jolt at empty restaurants and neon signs about what part of which business was open. I remembered the quote while we watched LDS General Conference this morning; while the camera panned over an empty exterior shot of the building where 21,000 people would have been meeting.

Mormon NewsroomGeneral Conference, April 2019. Thanks to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the picture.

Surreal.

The good news is that I think I’m through all the Stages of Grief now. I skipped from Shock to Depression, swung back to Emotionless, and am now resigned to Acceptance. My family and I are still here, are fine, and are just staying home. I can stay here in my own, four walls. I don’t need to worry about what if because those who are in charge have removed the stresses I had, outside of my four walls. If IT can stay outside those walls as well, then we’re set for months.

And, we’re making lemonade out of lemons. My son and his brother set up a Minecraft server and invited his classmates. We’ll wait and see what happens with Europe. The LDS church leaders are broadcasting from a small room, with their chosen speakers sitting six feet apart.

The latest from LDS General Conference: Church membership tops 16.5M; afternoon session begins with a virtual vote
(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General Conference begins at a small auditorium in the Church Office Building with top leaders socially distanced amid the coronavirus pandemic. ©2020 The Salt Lake Tribune

I’ll bake a birthday cake and make enchiladas from the ingredients I picked up from my store order yesterday. I’ll wrap the presents our postman delivered. I’ll remember to look at this from my son’s perspective, because all he wants is a happy birthday.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

60 thoughts on “4/4/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

  1. I don’t think you’re being shallow. It’s natural to think about what you would be doing, and that doesn’t mean you don’t have a soul. I hope that you get to take it next year if it doesn’t work out. Good for you to see things from your son’s perspective and control what you can control by trying to give him a happy birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are truly dark times, but I enjoyed the encouraging tone of your post. My country is under complete lockdown, and the cases leap each day. We find it hard to get supplies sometimes, but we’re thankful for what we’ve got. Life has taught me to make the most of this difficult period and count my blessings. And it’s nice to see that there are people like you doing the same. Sorry about your son’s birthday and the trip to Europe. Like the old adages say, “One can only hope,” and “This too shall pass.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This whole thing IS too bizarre for words. Even in the past when there have been public illnesses (SARS, HIV, Legionnaire’s), we never faced anything like this in America and certainly not worldwide. I guess this is what they mean when they refer to “a whole new ballgame”. The Hitchhiker’s quote nailed it. We all just keep waiting to wake up from this nightmare and going back to normal, but who knows what our new normal will be. Hang in there. And good for the boys in being resilient.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think so as well, but am not familiar with how things ran during the Spanish Flu or Bird Flu. We’re much more connected nowadays, with more people traveling everywhere in the world.

      ❤ Thank you for the encouragement!

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  4. Happy birthday to your son. I spent the first 18 years of my life celebrating my birthday on the wrong date. My parents had no idea how that happened. When I was 18 I got a copy of my birth certificate and it was another date altogether. The new date was not as magical as the old date had been. Europe will happen! But thank goodness you hadn’t already left!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “There are people dying after near-suffocation from a disease they contracted at Wal-mart.” Quite the line there; something I might use if somebody wants to downplay this (with proper credit, of course).

    The Arthur Dent quote is an apt one. My friend lives in NYC, and he’s reporting to me about what’s going on. The numbers don’t really make sense–I see them, I recognize those are now deceased people who died alone, but it feels a bit more like having a staring contest with the screen.

    I hope you and your family continue to stay healthy and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😀 I’m sure you can come up with your own flippant doomsday quote! I relate to your not quite grasping the NY situation -one reason why I found it’s being referenced by Douglas Adams as so funny.

      Our plans are to stay home. We’ll have the odd errand, but are fortunate in job and situation that we can wall up behind some TP if needs be. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Before the greed, the want, not need our children had family tea parties. You could have A watsap party, all his friends tape a message especially to him afamily skype or interactive conference call. The only birthday where his cards are electronically in the ether. He is single handedley saving the earth. No trees harmed or habitats destroyed for his birthday. A feed in the garden or on a cloth on the floor, a picnic style feast. Everyone chose a favourite tune or joke or moment. All laugh until your belly aches. Happy Birthday Handsome warrior. From BuryStEdmunds UK.

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  7. Well Europe will miss you guys. I was looking forward to hearing what you thought of Guildford high street. Still europe will still be here when this is an asterisk in the sporting awards. As Simone Halep said when she heard Wimbledon had been cancelled At least I’ll be champion for 2 years. After all things will be alright in the end and if they’re not alright it’s not the end. Enjoy spoiling your son. Given him a towel…

    Liked by 1 person

    • We couldn’t do London because of a scheduled renovation, so that may be our “at least I’ll be champion” perspective quote.

      I used to lament not going places others were or doing fantastic things, but started telling myself, ‘It’s okay. You’ll go someday. Just be patient.’ Then, Notre Dame caught fire and the whole world caught Coronavirus.

      I should look into that towel…

      Like

  8. The waves of emotion have crashed slowly upon the shores of my mind. Powerful, but each successive wave waiting for the effects of the previous crash to be absorbed. Some can be anticipated as the virus spreads. But each one accumulates, whether I respond immediately or feel the impact later. You are doing well to show the boys that much of life is making the best of the situation. Memorable times indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. April 4 is my son’s birthday too! His day looked very similar. It was a good day. He also loves Minecraft 😊 although I suppose most boys do. I’m wondering what to do with all the decor and party favors I had bought. I still want to throw him a party yet…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wish a very Happy Birthday to your son. I can’t imagine how kids must be looking at the whole affair. Margaret and I know a couple of friends who’s kids are graduating this year (one High School, one college). They expressed grief over not being able to walk across that stage. My grandkids are struggling with the whole lockdown thing. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for your family.

    I’m sorry about the Europe trip. The only good thing is that travel companies seem to be willing to postpone them or refund monies already paid given the circumstances. I hope that’s the case for you and your husband. What a great vacation to have after all this is over. Take care, stay safe, and stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My children are handling things admirably well. I suppose this is the upside of the neighbor kids generally shunning us… I feel fortunate that we’re not at a graduation year. That must be so difficult. 😦

      We’re waiting to see what happens with the trip. It’s just been an emotional journey of faith, since deciding to go was an answer to my prayers -and a repeated point of “Why did I feel that way?” as finances, a baby, babysitting, and now pandemic have challenged that.

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  11. All I want is a happy birthday too 🙂 For what its worth, I feel 99.9 % better Jess and I were supposed to go to Massachusets for our 7th wed anniversary and or see Dennis deyoung (former styx singer) but think I will take that as a loss concert rescheduled till November what if it just gets worse again by then, I personally don’t want to be around lots of people till there is a vaccine

    Liked by 1 person

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