Like most of us, I have spent the last two months in quarantine with my husband and two children. As chaos coordinators, my husband and I manage our children's education and play, our own workload, grocery deliveries, toilet paper orders and our home art supply inventory.
One of the bigger things we've faced through all this is navigating the roller coaster of emotions our children are dealing with. Their lives have been completely uprooted. They are missing so much of their "regular" lives—structure, school, family—but above all else, they are really missing their friends.
And while navigating their emotions and feelings are a priority, I have some feelings of my own.
I miss my friends, too. A lot.
I am an extrovert by nature. A planner. A (really, really) good hugger. It is truly part of my DNA to gather and host. I love to see people together. As a working mom of two, I have traded in my days of throwing big parties and wild nights out in exchange for fire pit parties, girls nights out, playdates and the coveted occasional spa day.
As with everything, most of these are planned way in advance with hundreds of texts in anticipation of the event and of course a few inevitable reschedules. Add in our impromptu date nights and, as my daughter would say, my bucket is filled with friendship love.
Although I am blessed with an amazing husband and two wonderful, crazy kids, my bucket of friendship love is definitely a lot lighter right now. It is hard not having the IRL support of my friends.
I have tried to find new ways to connect with them. Weekly Zoom calls with my college friends have been a lifeline. Video chats with my old beach house girls make me feel like myself again. Virtually watching a bad reality TV show with former co-workers has been my midweek relief. And my daily (more like hourly) texts with my best friend where we communicate via memes and puppy videos is pretty much what gets me through the day. I am so appreciative for these moments.
But it isn't enough.
My extrovert self is struggling.
This isolation is getting to me.
I miss my friends.
I miss us sneaking out for pedicures.
I miss our kids' playdates. The ones we scheduled for the real reason of us moms being able to see each other.
I miss randomly running into friends at Starbucks and spending an extra 10 minutes catching up.
I miss getting the girls together to try out the new restaurant in town.
I miss hugs.
I miss seeing them at Friday pickup, with the joint celebratory acknowledgment of the fact that "we made it!"
I miss planning brunches that end up lasting six hours.
I miss the random texts of, "Are you free? Was going to stop by to say hi."
I miss touching a friend's arm—whether out of comfort or from barreling over in laughter.
I miss planning my annual getaway with my bestie.
It's not like these things happened weekly. Okay fine—sometimes not even monthly. But I miss knowing I had the chance to see them this weekend or next month or even in five months. I knew it was coming, I could hold onto that. And, for now, it's not.
I am longing for what life was like so very long ago—you know, in February.
There are times when I want to break the social distancing barrier that has kept me housebound and get together with a few friends who I know have been following the rules. I went as far as to make plans last week with two friends to sit on the lawn together, six-plus feet apart, post-bedtime with tumblers in hand. But after talking to my husband, I had to take a breath and remember there is a reason why we are doing this, so I canceled.
Social distancing is one of the most effective tools in combating COVID-19. We have been told to stay home unless you're an essential worker or you need to go out for healthcare services or household necessities.
As much as I would like to convince myself that my sanity and need for contact could somehow fit into the grouping of necessities, I couldn't justify the risk. So I washed my hair and had a good cry instead of hanging with my friends.
It is hard to remember that this is only a moment in time and that, eventually, we will get back to normal—whatever that will look like.
That's what we are telling our kids, after all, right?
So, for now, I will continue to put the safety of my family first, doing my part to fight this and hope that one day soon I will be sitting in the yard or at a restaurant or on vacation, laughing with a friend, filling that proverbial bucket with so much friendship love.
Until then, my friends, in case you didn't get the point—I miss you. I REALLY MISS YOU.