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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.

Opinion

The little things

Friday, April 10, 2020

Itís safe to say we are sailing through uncharted waters right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling so many parts of everyday life. Those who can stay home have been advised to do so, and Gideon and I are fortunate to be in that group.

Staying home means we are protecting ourselves and, in turn, protecting everybody else weíd normally see out and about. We have restricted grocery trips to once a week ó once every two weeks if we are super conservative with supplies. Only one person goes on outings we used to do together. I never realized that we bonded through trips to the grocery store until now. Little things like that have been taken from us, and it feels pretty darn weird.

That doesnít mean weíre having a horrible time at home. Over the past few weeks, weíve embraced other little things that we tend to miss when weíre on the go. Itís the sound of birds in the morning encouraging us to stay in bed a little longer to listen to their song. Itís a leisurely cup of tea on the balcony before work as the birds continue to serenade us. And most importantly, itís seeing each other for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

For the first five years of our relationship, Gideon and I worked opposite schedules. We rarely saw each other even during the weekend, with him working nights and me working days during the week. Both our schedules were unreliable at times, so planned dates didnít always pan out the way we expected. Then Gideon started his first full-time teaching job and stayed busy during the week. We started spending the weekend together ó it felt like such a treat.

Thatís to say we have never spent this much time together, much less in such close quarters. We are still busy working from home, but we can take breaks to sit outside together. Sometimes when heís not answering messages from students, Gideon tags along with me on a car ride to get some photos for our visitors magazine. We never had this closeness before. Despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, I am grateful for this time with our little family.

Of course we are human, so sometimes we need some space from each other. Thatís why Iím so happy to have lots of hobbies lying around the house. You know those projects you say youíll do on a rainy day, and then a rainy day comes and you do something else? Well, we have crammed lots of those in our tiny apartment ó more than you could probably imagine.

Over the past few weeks, we have deep cleaned our junk room, washed all the blankets and pillowcases in sight, played at least 20 games of Settlers of Catan and completed numerous art projects. I have been working on a horror novel I started and stopped last year, something I never would have done if I didnít have so much time on my hands and no place to go.

Certainly, we are all missing the little things that make daily life so rich. Temporarily gone are the days of stopping to talk to a friend at Walmart, going out to eat for date night, spending Sunday morning at church with fellow believers and just spending time with people who donít live with us. If there is a lesson to take from this, I hope itís that good quality time isnít determined by where it happens. We can make every day a great day, even if that entire day is spent indoors with little to no connection to the outside world.

This week, Iím challenging you all to join me in making the best of a bad situation. Try a new recipe or video call a long distance loved one. Finish an art project, research how you can help those in need or get your hands dirty in the garden. Remember, the time is going to pass by regardless of the way we spend it.

I donít know about you, but I plan to spend it well.