The Care and Keeping of Me

We have been incredibly lucky. Until today, my husband’s and my jobs were totally unaffected by the pandemic; they were perhaps a bit busier than normal. We have everything we need, and so far my children have not gone without anything. We are all healthy. I am in that gratitude.

But per a county “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, my little bookstore closed its doors for the time being yesterday. For now, it looks like ten days. Ten days is nothing. Ten days is probably not enough.

The store owner is an incredible woman. We are all being encouraged to think outside the box in terms of staying of service to our community and our business in this trying time. We are allowed to work from home in creative pursuits for this period and planning for the celebration when we reopen. She is supporting us in any way she can. So many do not have that right now. I am in that gratitude.

Husband did a wonderful job of entertaining the little brothers today so that I could fit in eight hours of work while in the home. I was able to cook a full breakfast this morning, nurse Little Brother as he needed it, have our favorite Italian lunch weekend-style with Middle Brother, cook dinner and eat with the family, take part in bedtime, and still get some real work done, including a virtual storytime with no screaming in the background. I am in that gratitude.

People who are not even regular customers are going out of their way to support our little business. A couple even let a total stranger pick out entertainment for their families and ship it sight unseen for their social distancing periods. The world still values booksellers. I am trusted to do my job well. I am in that gratitude.

The very best kind of friend stopped by and dropped off pies and lattes for us. She even stayed and chatted for a bit from a respectable six feet away. She brought warmth and companionship in a difficult time. I am in that gratitude.

Despite all this, there is still an unmanageable amount of anxiety. I won’t go into all the reasons; you all feel it on some level. We are really all in this together. So, in between all the things to be grateful for, I still have to work in some much-needed self care. What that looks like for me today: a long shower, allowing myself that burst of pride when someone is thrilled by my selections for them, telling my brain to shut off the business and enjoy some time with my boys, refusing to sit in guilt that I’m still not reading right now, marveling at my wonderful children, calling every number in my phone and not feeling bad about it, sitting with my anxiety and gratitude together.

This is just the beginning, and I intend to be here at the end, healthy and happy and whole. Take care of yourself. You should be, too.

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