My son had a stem cell transplant from his sister on February 7th of this year in hope of curing his leukemia and he and I have essentially been quarantining ever since.
Gains from Losses During Quarantine
Wearing masks and gloves. Constantly cleaning. Avoiding crowds and spending an immense amount of time alone. We often talk about how much we cannot wait to “get out” of this quarantine. The other day we had a different conversation about what we had gained from losing our perceived freedom to move about without fear of infection.
The first thing we realized we gained was time freedom. We were able to delete all the meetings and requirements on our schedules. We were able to decide each and every day how to use our time. We’ve read more books. We’ve journaled more. We’ve watched movies and had discussions. We’ve completed puzzles. We sat on the roof with our faces to the sun. We’ve rested more—sleeping longer at night. Napping during the day when we felt like we needed it.
The second thing we realized we gained was intimacy. Many of us are afraid of that word because it has been confused with sexual intimacy. To be in an intimate relationship with anyone means you are able to be fully vulnerable; your perfectly flawed self. What that looks like between my son and me—deep conversations about life and death, choices and consequences. It can be pretty raw sometimes and we’ve had to admit our fears and frustrations. We’ve talked about love, family, and life vision. And we’ve deeply questioned faith and what that means to each of us. We’ve also hurt each other on occasion and had to sort that out.
The final thing we gained from temporarily losing our freedom to move about was truth. When you are spending so much time in small quarters with one another, as intimacy increases truth emerges. As an example, Will called me out recently on the way I approached him about something. He said, “Mom, you come at me with aggressive energy I’m going to come back at you with the same energy.” He was right. I was annoyed about something that had nothing to do with him and I targeted him with that energy instead of grounding myself before talking to him. I brought my annoyed, aggressive energy into the space and changed the dynamic in a swift moment. These moments of truth have been wonderful learning opportunities for both of us that keep us honest about who we are. I don’t know that we would have them if we were not in the current situation.
Busyness left me feeling unfulfilled and this pause that initially I felt was oppressive has actually provided greater gains than losses. And while I am looking forward to being able to choose my own produce at the grocery store, get a cup of coffee from my favorite barista, hug my parents or sit with my favorite people and laugh until my cheeks hurt, I’m taking these lessons from quarantine with me and hope to never return to the way I was before.