The Quell of Quarantine

I started writing about the experience of a pandemic and being quarantined a few weeks into what is now closing in on a year. I wanted to have something for my children to look back on later in life. I needed a place to focus energy, thoughts and emotions with no judgment. I have close to 50 pages written so far. It is a scattered mess of emotions, questions, opinions, information and photos. It is honest, raw and unpolished. Every few weeks I go back and read through it. Sometimes I find myself right back on the roller coaster, feeling it all. At other times I read it with no emotion but rather reflection. The document is titled “The Quell of Quarantine.” Here is part of what I wrote on the first day:

“Choosing JOY has been hard today. There is a swirling of emotions in my heart and head, like a tornado inside me that is stuck. After shedding a few tears while in the bathroom with the water running so you couldn’t hear me, I decided today was the day I would begin writing.

I know I should have started this journal of sorts when all of the craziness began but it didn’t feel like the right time no matter how many times I thought about it. No matter how many times I knew I needed to write for you all as much as myself, I just could not sit and actually do it. We are living history in a way you have never experienced. In a way so different from 9/11 and other historical milestones I have been alive for in my 43 years. In a way that even GG and Pop have never experienced. It is an unprecedented journey the world is navigating. It has so many layers. I have so many questions that will most likely never be answered or answered with only partial truths and partial lies.

There is a heaviness in the air. A feeling of having someone standing on your shoulders and pushing down. The collective energy of sadness, frustration, and uncertainty. The breadth of human reaction is astounding.

I have been handling this very differently than most, as is true of most situations. I tend to feel and process the energy before processing the actual emotions or events. I need to quiet my insides and listen before responding to the outside.

I refused to allow this to take our family down the rabbit hole of despair and fear. We have and are having age-appropriate discussions but we are not allowing it to consume us. We do not have the television on constantly. We are living and making the best of each and every messy day that we are blessed with. It has been quite a transition for our family. At the end of the day, we are doing what is best for us each day and know that tomorrow is a new day that we will figure out. Planning ahead is only leading to more disappointment right now and none of us need that.

I have tried to remain in PEACE within the CHAOS surrounding us. I have been CHOOSING JOY. I have been taking small steps each day in mind, body, and spirit that keep me grounded, focused, calm, inspired, and open to receive love. I have chosen to be a carrier of joy, love, kindness, understanding, truth, and a positive mindset.

Each of you seems to be doing the same, even on the hard days you always find gratitude. I am so proud of your “pivot” (a word I now hate and you will eventually understand why). You are working hard on your schoolwork (most of the time), playing outside even more (I didn’t think that was possible), spending more time together laughing instead of fighting (although you still drive me bananas instigating one another), cooking meals together or with me, using new and free resources on the internet to explore the zoo and its animals/take art classes/guitar lessons and so much more. Communities near and far are stepping up to provide engaging resources for all ages!

Our home and our space have become that much more special because we have somewhere to go and to be when there isn’t anywhere else. We are blessed to have our faith, a home base, one another, as well as resources that will see us through and a support system we can count on.

I am starting here and we will see where it leads. The words and thoughts may seem scattered and jumbled at times but that is okay. It is how my head and heart are currently processing things. It will always be honest.”

I chose this excerpt to share because I realized that almost a year later if I were to just start writing now, it wouldn’t be all that different. We have moved forward in some ways, but so much still isn’t normal (the real normal not “the new normal”…which I do not and will not embrace). I still have so many questions and emotions surrounding it all.

I say “When this is over…” but then there is this creeping sense that surfaces and says “If this ever ends…” Mindset is a powerful thing and a huge piece to weathering this season, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t exhausted.

We need one another in new and deeper ways now. Let’s be there for each other with no judgment because the roller coaster we are all on isn’t giving each of us the same ride.

Taralee is an educator, advocate, philanthropist and a published author.

She has passionately contributed to the fields of special education and early childhood education since 1998, meeting her student’s and client’s needs in the home, school and community. She excels at recognizing each child’s unique gift and successfully ignites their love of learning through exploration, discovery and play. It is through this work that "Inspired Education" was born. As a philanthropist, Taralee served as the President and member of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Regional New Jersey Early Intervention Collaborative for 8 years.

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