A teacher mom might say (during COVID 19 shutdown)

Susan Ahlbrand

Things I did so naturally
a few days ago
make me take pause . . .

touching my nose, my mouth, my eyes.
turning doorknobs,
pushing/pulling doors open in public places
walking through a store grabbing whatever I wanted

Now it’s needs not wants that are the focus
and even needs can’t impose their will.

As cheated as we feel about missed experiences,
As confined as we feel about being encouraged to hunker down at home,
At the root of those emotions and the fear that hangs over them like a drape,
we know these changes are vital.
Or, at least with each passing hour,
we are sobered by reality.

We needed to slow down
We needed to quit cramming our calendars with activities
We needed to stop pushing our students to learn more, more, more
and to move beyond things they were developmentally prepared for.
We needed to bring God, Faith, church, community, fellowship, concern for others
back into the center of self.
We needed to be reminded that home is a haven,
that we don’t need to go, go, go all the time.
We needed to cherish our country and our wondrous sites
and not constantly yearn to travel abroad

I hope to never again take for granted
hugging my loved ones
shaking hands at the sign of peace
dipping my finger into the holy water font
perching in bleachers watching high school kids compete their asses off
welcoming my son home after baseball practice
following my favorite teams on ESPN
browsing through a store picking up wanted items
standing in front of a class of captive yet captivated students

Seasons have been cancelled
First Communions
Birthday parties
Family vacations

All of the things that
reflect our freedoms,
show our love
celebrate our achievements.

Our circles have shrunk
and will continue to shrink
like Laura Ingalls
in a cabin the woods
just family
and self
and thoughts

We have to embrace
this drastic shift
play board games
play cards
read books
watch movies
enjoy homecooking
work jigsaw puzzles

In a time of social distancing,
we have the chance to connect
to grow more intimate.

Oh, the irony . . .
distancing draws us closer.


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Susan Ahlbrand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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