I went into quarantine with a totally different outlook than the one I have now. I absolutely dreaded the weeks that would follow as I imagined a life that would be completely different than the one I was used to.

Life during lockdown would consist of me getting out of bed and walking just a few steps from my bedroom to my new office space, a space that would be occupied by my four children and their Chromebooks. I knew that I’d spend most of my days playing referee in addition to my new role of kindergarten and ninth-grade teacher.

I expected to spend most of my days in sweats and socks instead of the stilettos that I was used to. My face would be makeup free for the first time in a long time, because for the first time in years, I’d have absolutely nowhere to go. This left me feeling displaced.

It’s been a month since I packed up my computer and headed home to work indefinitely, and my view of things has changed significantly. I spent a lot of time praying and asking for forgiveness for my lack of gratefulness.

I have one of my closest friends to thank for the way I see things now. In her role as a nurse, she has had to see and deal with more than I have had to even think about at home each day.

During one of her nightmarish shifts, she texted me to see if my day at home with the kids had been better than the day prior. I griped and complained before asking her how her shift was going. That was the night that she lost her first patient due to coronavirus.

She was tired, afraid and filled with a great deal of grief. Here I was safely in the comfort of my own home complaining about the latest sibling battle and how stressful the day had been while she was busy trying to save lives while trying to protect her own.

My heart ached for her as I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. I was home with my family while she’s away from hers. My biggest challenge during the past few weeks was making sure that I successfully sanitize all of the containers and packages that I brought home from the grocery store.

This seemed small compared to her new roles and routines. She has to thoroughly sanitize herself before she can even go within a few feet of her family when the workday is over.

Her biggest responsibility was to keep her patients alive while mine was to make sure that I didn’t forget to put on a mask and gloves each time I left home. She’s among so many people who aren’t able to close the door to the outside world.

Each day she’s on the front lines toughing it out. There was no way I could continue to complain while recognizing what she and so many others have to face each day.

I’m grateful to be able to continue working safely from home during these uncertain times. I had spent too much time focusing on the inconvenience that being quarantined has caused. My friend and so many others put their lives in danger each day. I could no longer view the situation that we’ve all been forced to take part in as a daunting process but as a blessing.

I’m spending more time with my children, and even though there is constant sibling rivalry, I’m still in my right mind. I am sure that someone needs to hear that this too shall pass.

We won’t always be stuck inside. There will come a day when there will be a different topic on the news. We will hug and shake hands again. We won’t always have to hide behind masks and stand on designated strips in the grocery store. Things will be normal again. There is hope for the future.

Again, this too shall pass, but for now, stay inside in your comfortable attire and make the best of it.

Christine McCormick Cooper lives in Florence and is employed at PGBA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, teenage triplet sons and daughter. Contact her at citizencolumnist@florencenews.com.

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