A few days ago was the 5 year anniversary of my wedding. Months ago, we decided how we would spend it: on the beach in Hawaii. We planned a whole trip for the extended family, grandparents, aunts, and cousins. We would rent a big beautiful house, and on the actual anniversary day we would leave our toddler with the family. Then we would leave and sit on the beach through sunset after getting sushi nearby and just be.
It would also be our babymoon since I am 6 months pregnant, our last trip before our family changed forever. Little did we know how much life would change, just while sitting at home, in the few months between booking and the anniversary itself.
Celebrating in quarantine
When we made our plans, we certainly didn’t anticipate we would end up being under shelter in place orders during a pandemic. We definitely didn’t think that trip would end up cancelled and we would be stuck at home with little to no difference between our days.
It’s like a very depressing GROUNDHOGS DAY movie.
Unfortunately that is exactly how life is right now, and a very pregnant and sad me sat on my couch and cried on the morning of our anniversary. There is so many things people are grieving right now, and it seemed incredibly shallow to be sad that I wasn’t in Hawaii.
People have lost family members and friends, others are working in dangerous conditions to save patients or provide essential services. However if we are truthful, there are many levels to how this quarantine is impacting people’s lives, and grief doesn’t care if it’s the loss of your trip goals or the loss of your job that is coursing through you. They do not feel the same, but they also aren’t relative. You can’t tell yourself, “don’t be sad! You have a job still!,” which by the way, I don’t.
I lost the freelance work I was doing, the trip I had planned, my baby shower, and possibly my birth plan all in one fell swoop.
I was sad, and for some big reasons. I turned to my mom friends as I often do for support. They all said the same thing: it’s okay to be sad, but don’t let it stop you from doing something, anything, to celebrate the day.
Then they gave suggestions for celebrating in quarantine.
So many friends made comments that they were grieving because they had to cancel birthday plans, weddings, trips, and concerts. Cancelled plans for their children hurt the most. This really affirmed my feelings.
It is valid to mourn the loss of things we looked forward to and our sense of normalcy.
Almost every one of them said they found some alternative and would do more later. Friends did things like drive-by birthday parties with signs held in windows and gifts dropped off on doorsteps. Others had dance party nights with just their little fam and a cake of their choosing or projected movies on the side of their house to pretend it was a night out.
We came up with a new plan for celebrating in quarantine.
First, I got dressed. Like ALL the way. I put on a cute dress I had bought for our trip to Hawaii. I put on makeup and even added the pièce de resistance: a bra (wink wink). We decided to order take out, which we had resisted doing until that point for safety. In the moment, we made up our mind that it was worth the risk for one special night if we did our research.
He lit candles for me which I always love.
We also put our phones on a time out for the evening, forcing us to connect with one another. He even let me choose a romantic period movie (which he loved by the way. BECOMING JANE AUSTIN is a beautiful film and guys do enjoy romance even if they pretend otherwise). Then we got out a couples conversation starter game called Our Memories that we had from Valentines Day and reminded us of why we enjoy each other.
Oh and we ate cake. SO much cake.
No, it wasn’t Hawaii. There was no beautiful sunset and no real break from our toddler except once she was in bed. But we had quality time. We connected and talked in a way we hadn’t since this quarantine began.
We dreamed together of maybe taking a trip a year or so from now with our newly formed family. I laid my head on his shoulder and cried and felt comforted. Though we didn’t have hours and hours together of enjoying the scenery or the excitement of a trip, we had each other.
All we have right now, is the love that we build into our homes and lives. It’s worth it even if it’s not what we imagined. We just have to let love lead.