Pump. The. Brakes. The Whole World Changed.

As you know I started sharing a little bit of our journey toward Washington DC the end of last year. Something we had been considering for months started to take shape. We found a home in DC. John began his new job. We took a family trip that was much needed (and perfectly timed as we now know from current events. It was a cruise that left February 1st, returning February 6th. Little did we know it would be one of the last cruises to take off without much fear of the coronavirus that has now taken hold of our world.).

We began a new normal. John worked from DC during the week for 10 weeks while the kids and I stayed in Pennsylvania allowing them to finish out their school year. We had a lot of hills and valleys. We had fights. We had awkward silences that neither of us quite knew how to fill. Tensions got high. But, we did find a new norm.

Then, just as it did for many of you… likely all of you… the whole world turned upside down.

Suddenly we became a family all in one place again with two parents working full-time from home, something that we had never experienced before. I had always been the one at home, John had always been the one working out of an office. 10 weeks apart give us enough time to settle into our norm that was even less time together than we were used to. The shift was drastic.

We also went from relying fully on others to educate our children to bringing the school into our home. And, it wasn’t just the school. Church? That now takes place in our living room (thankfully guided by a wonderful church family). Three meals a day? No more school lunches to fall back on. Fresh food? It became a little harder to come by.

I share these things, not because I feel like we’re unique. But rather, because I know we’re far from it. I know that moms across the country who have always been relied on to maintain a sense of stability in the home, often while providing financially for the family as well, though not always of course, suddenly feel like there’s a whole lot more of a weight on our shoulders.

Me? I feel lucky. We live in an area of the country that has, to this date, been able to seclude a bit and maintain social distance to hopefully stop the spread of this great unknown. I have a neighborhood to walk in. Friends to talk to (across sidewalks and on the phone!). New connections to forge through this new world we’re in… Last night even included a Zoom conference call cocktail hour where 30-somethings from around the country were able to talk about our concerns, what we’re seeing in our professions, how are communities are handling this outbreak, and the ways we find Hope.

And y’all, the hope is there.

It might be hard to find. I know for me it’s esspecially hard to find in the evenings when I have just a little more time to think than normal. Then this new norm that doesn’t really have an end date can feel extra heavy.

But there’s beauty here.

We’ve put together a schedule which I’ll talk more about in another post. But, spoiler, it’s a loose one. We talked about what’s coming with the kids, this week they’re looking forward to putting together a few Lego sets, solving some logic puzzles, starting independent studies on the topics of their chosing (1 picked Star Wars, one picked the American Revolution, the point is that they’re learning to research and to present information. Their brains are moving). They’re committed to getting outside every single day regardless of the weather; thank goodness spring and summer are starting to show themselves. We’re praying with our future Church home each day at noon through Instagram live. The small ones know that their jobs are to create something new each day.

There’s beauty in this newness. Today we picked flowers and talked about various types that are starting to bloom. We dug in the dirt, found earthworms and prepared our veggie garden plot for the year. The plot we didn’t think we’d be putting to use this year because of the move. We dyed Easter eggs a little early. We laughed at the ones that fell instead of getting uptight over broken egg shells. The siblings have been learning how to get along with each other and how to create new games. While there’s still more arguing then the ideal, there’s also more hysterical laughing. On that same point, we are starting to care a little less about the ideal. We are forging our own path… And honestly? That’s refreshing.

Tomorrow will bring its new stress. Instead of ample help with the kids they’re a little more present on my conference calls. Sometimes a lot more present… But in this I am not alone. My whole team, maybe your whole team to is learning that maybe… Just maybe… that’s an okay thing.

Our walls sometimes feel small and constricting. And yet I feel like more connections are taking place than ever before. In fact I think we’re all searching for it in new ways. In the past week we’ve met new neighbors, we’ve caught up with friends from around the world… Canada, Spain, Brazil, and more. While the circumstances vary… The feelings are the same. The need for community, the need for hope that can only come from a Savior that knows the future and holds it in his hand, is more apparent in conversations than I’ve ever experienced.

We’re in this together gals. Let’s learn well. Let’s give ourselves patience. Let’s learn to compromise. Let’s show our kids what family can do. And let’s forge a path in this great new beginning instead of focusing on what feels a lot like an end sometimes.

Hope and beauty. Gratitude. These are the things we can choose to focus on. These are the things we can connect on. There’s joy in this journey too.

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