A Year into the Pandemic

A year ago today our family packed up and headed east to hunker down and try to escape the craze surrounding us in Seattle. We had no idea, like anyone else, what we were in store for or how the pandemic would shape our lives.

Alex’s employer had just announced a two-week work-from-home order {which has now been extended to July 2021, 16 months later}. Everything around us was moving so fast. There was little information. People were dying. The virus was running rampant. So we got out of dodge and headed to the mountains and hoped the virus wouldn’t make its way there.

We spent a week at our mountain home, enjoying the great outdoors. We took the kids to the pump track, Lake Wenatchee State Park, and we even went skiing! Then, suddenly, everything closed. Everything. Even our beloved State Park. The kids and I didn’t get in the car for seven weeks.

I remember those first couple of months being ridden with anxiety. The information about the virus was so limited and it was all so terrifying. Everything happened so fast. I quickly found out that I needed to stop paying attention to the news for a while and just be.

Right from the onset I took the approach of gratitude. I buckled the kids in for their “stroller snack” every morning and we’d take a little nature walk and I’d rattle off everything I felt grateful for in those moments. The list was abundant. I had so much to be grateful for – nature, space, solace, good health, my family….

I remember making a tremendous effort from the beginning to check in with friends as often as I could. Certainly that’s waned as my energy level has waned and time has marched forward. These text chats made me feel so connected to my friends from around the country in a time of solitude.

Going to the grocery store in those first few months terrified me. I absolutely hated it. This was before masks. Eventually Alex took over the grocery shopping. He’d go every two weeks or so because I just couldn’t stand it.

Remember sanitizing all of the food when you’d get home?! I do NOT miss that. And the empty spots on the shelves? And the limits on pantry items and meat? Those are actually still in effect where we are, but thankfully it seems like most items are becoming more readily available.

I still can’t believe at one point we made it 18 days without getting groceries. I challenged myself to make our food last and to figure out how to shop so I’d still have fresh produce two weeks in. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, oranges and apples became staples. We rationed eggs, meat and bread.

Our love of pandemic baking is still running strong. We bake something at least once a week. One of my favorite baking memories was the first time we made focaccia. Not only was it fun to do with the kids, it tasted incredible.

Some of my fondest memories come from the earliest days of the pandemic. The kids and I had the best time. And Alex was home. The amount of time we spent outside was incredible. We all loved when Alex would join us every day for a picnic lunch on the deck.

In these early days Alex’s job was nuts. It was really stressful and just never ended. By late-July he moved to a different team and the stress level reduced tremendously, thankfully. Having Alex home has singlehandedly been the most impactful change in our family as a result of the pandemic. Family time is paramount to us.

These early days of the pandemic showed our family so much. They placed our priorities on center stage. We’re a year into the pandemic now and are in the process of making some significant life changes for our family, as a result of our experiences in those first few months.

We’re looking forward to sunnier days, figuratively and literally, and the days where we can hug our friends, walk into a store without double masking, eat in a restaurant, and finally, finally see our extended family again.