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Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Day by day

At this point in the year, we have had more weeks under the auspice of COVID-19 than not. It has been difficult to see clearly in 2020. From the early reports of this virus to present day, life has become increasingly challenging. And for most, some days are simply better than others. Some people have better coping skills than others. Some easily change, while others resist. I vacillate between anguish and scrambling to find a path that feels manageable. I am guessing I am not alone.

All around I see varying degrees of the abilities of humans to cope and change and adapt. As with the species in general, varying degrees and attitudes surface as days turn into weeks that turn into months of living in a constant state of the unknown. There are many examples of innovation and those who are rising to the challenge of doing whatever is necessary to conform to the changes forced upon us, while others simply resist and complain and refuse to correspond. I understand the urge to fight. I also understand the need to adjust.

While life as we knew it seems to be forever changed, I find myself longing for a return to just a few of the things that I knew to be “normal.” I miss hugs. I miss travel. I miss attending concerts, sporting events, or other public affairs. I am missing mingling with shoppers during the downtown farmers’ markets and listening to bands perform while waiting in line for dinner. I miss making plans to show off our county fair.

In an effort to cope, I hug those in my “pod.” Taunted by airline travel ads, I spend time planning trips I may never take. I am consoling my lack of crowd activities by watching concerts and sports on- line. I have yet to find the alternative to the joy of street and county fairs, but I applaud the local municipality for closing a main thoroughfare to increase outdoor dining and shopping options. That will help.

As the pandemic continues and the political discord ravages the nation, we need to grab onto the bouquets we can reach. Each day, my goal is to focus on the good. Gratitude for the gift of waking. Gratitude for the health and safety of those I love. Gratitude for a sunny day. Celebrate the victories.

While I may appear to be the type to resist these changes, I find myself to be surprisingly compliant, hoping for a swift resolution. I am wearing a mask when in public. I am limiting my social interactions. I am not travelling (except in my mind). I am (trying) to keep from wrapping my arms around loved ones. But I am doing my fair share of whining as well! It is reasonable to want to get back to the world we were knocking just a few months ago! There are so many other social issues to address, it would be nice to be able to use the energy spent on compliance on something a bit more fruitful.

It is not lost on me that I am doing all this complaining in a household of two, and so I also must count my blessings.

I am most thankful to have all my children grown and living on their own. There must be a special place in heaven for parents who are balancing work or other means of income with young children stuck at home. Even the kids themselves have grown weary of the many hours available to play video games and watch television. And while parents (I am certain) mean well, many are simply not equipped to take on the role of educator while also fulfilling the demands of their livelihood.

Many years ago, my husband homeschooled a few of our boys. They were falling behind in reading and so he pulled them for a year and helped them improve in subjects across the board. He is a very disciplined person. And, he had curriculum and a support system through a local school district on his side. It can be done, but that is not to say it is easy to do. My husband had the luxury of working out of our home. He was able to set up desks, hand out assignments, check the work, and tutor as needed. Best of all, the actual schooling only took a few hours each day, so the boys were then free to play and otherwise entertain themselves. Really, the social interactions and limited sporting options were what was most missed. It is hard to goof off behind the teacher’s back when the teacher knows where you sleep at night!

I do not think I would have been as successful. My tendency would be to do the work for them. It was hard enough to keep me from repeating elementary and middle school when the kids would bring assignments home, struggle with projects or have difficulty with their homework. I had some grand ideas for science fairs and international study!

So, parents of school age students, hats off to you.

This time in history, as we are living it, is nothing if not stressful. I know of a few relationships that have not survived. Too many people are dying—from the virus and other causes. Folks are losing their incomes. Paradoxically, new love is also being discovered. Friendships are being renewed. Babies are being born. People are showing initiative and innovation to make a living. Proof of our resilience is easy to find.

As the pandemic continues and the political discord ravages the nation, we need to grab onto the bouquets we can reach. Each day, my goal is to focus on the good. Gratitude for the gift of waking. Gratitude for the health and safety of those I love. Gratitude for a sunny day. Celebrate the victories. Some days are tough, but I don’t have to look far to see examples of our fortitude. Let’s take a moment and a deep breath and believe we can get through this. Today is going to be a great day.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.


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