Wednesday was a beautiful Spring day and I took advantage of it. I went for my first bike ride of the season! I am always a little nervous the first time out. I have no idea why because the minute I take off it all comes back in a rush. How freeing it is to let go of everything that is so heavy right now and just pedal.
My first ride of the season this year will be a bit more memorable than others. Here is what I observed:
There wasn't any real traffic to speak of. What bike rider doesn't appreciate that?!
I saw entire families outside-doing yard work, tossing a ball, playing yard games usually reserved for camping season
Two young ladies walking down the path with gloves on picking up trash-Thank You!
Sheets drying on a clothesline
Two little guys building a fort with a tarp that might have been taken off the vintage car in the driveway...
These sights warmed my heart and made me smile as I rode. I am sorry that our days are controlled by a virus and all the hurt and devastation it brings with it. However, I am grateful to see the beauty happening when we are being forced to be still.
There is a shadow on my observations though. This Mom was on my mind all night, so this morning I wrote a letter to her.
Dear Young Momma that I passed today,
I first noticed your littles and how cute they are. Two little ponytails bobbing in the sunshine as they played with their toys amidst giggles and squeals. I actually slowed down to take it in a little longer. I looked at you animatedly talking on your phone and was grateful for the person on the other end that was making you laugh today too. Then I noticed what was in your hand. A glass of wine. When I saw this it was like someone popped my balloon. It put a huge shadow on the beauty I was seeing. I pray today that you come to the realization that this was not ok and that it won't happen again.
Someone who's been there
"It was just a glass of wine Sherry, what's the big deal?" you might be thinking this as you read and I can answer that without a rant, I promise.
Heres the shortlist:
It is NEVER okay to drink alone. NEVER. Do you hear this? NEVER. I don't care what you are telling yourself. "I deserve this, just one is not a big deal." That's how it starts, with just one. It becomes your focal point of the day. "I can have a drink at 3:00 when we go outside or when they are napping or while I clean up dinner." Then there is this one, "I deserve it. I have worked hard and been with these kids all day." You think about the warmth that will flow into your bloodstream because it's not that you are craving the taste like you do a cookie. You want the effect it will have on you. The beauty of relaxing into a sunny afternoon. What will be today's excuse if it's not nice out today? "I've been in the house with these kids all day, I deserve it..." I guarantee you will find a reason once again to pour a glass.
I cringe to think of how many drinking problems will be a result of being confined for this long. For many, the seed was already planted and this virus is the perfect storm for it to firmly take root and become a part of you. You might say "its okay, I'll stop when things go back to normal." Your plan will fail. I promise.
They see you, those little blonde ponytails. They might not even say anything, but somewhere in those little minds, they are storing away a few things. "Mommy's nicer when she has her special glass." or "I can get away with more when Mommys breath smells like her special juice." Then there's the mental note they tuck away for when they are moms someday; "it's okay to drink in the afternoon, my Mom did."
Finally, you were made for more. We all have a calling to answer to in this trying time. To do each day one by one in the best way we know-how. There is so much to be gained here in this time of stillness. Find it. Dig deep and be your best self. Whether that is a Mom, Grandma, Wife, or Friend. Start each day with quiet or with the TV on to occupy the kiddos while you get a handle on the day ahead. Want to start a new thing that is okay just during quarantine? Don't make that thing day drinking. How about picnics on the living room floor? Permission to do nothing while they nap. Dessert first (my personal favorite.)
I've tried to be a good citizen when it comes to complying with whatever we are being told to do. I am glad that the list of essential businesses included convenience stores, pharmacies, etc but when I saw one of the essential businesses to stay open was Liquor Stores, I was stunned.
Then saddened. Since when did a liquor store become essential? I know about the whole State Liquor tax thing, but really? What message is that sending? For this former drinker, I would have totally used that as permission to justify a trip to the liquor store. Don't do it.
There is one thing I find complete and total gratitude in these past few weeks and it is this; I am not drinking. I am not wrestling with the thought of drinking. I am not adding to the drama in my head of life in quarantine with thoughts of drinking to pass the day. There is so much peace in me without it.
Just do your best today, that's all he is asking of you. When you want to pour a glass this afternoon, ask yourself if this is your best. Then walk away.
If you need support, reach out to me or someone else that can walk you through this.
Blessings and peace on your day,