This week we returned to Red – Control level which means customers are allowed back in the mall and our store. While we didn’t know what to expect, it very quickly returned the the normal that we experienced prior to Christmas. And if I am being honest it was really nice to be busy again and able to help more customers again. It makes the days go by much faster. Plus I feel really good about the lengths we go to as a company to protect our team and customers. And, I have fifteen straight negative COVID tests to show for it!
There were also some really great things for Emelia’s mental health this week because we returned to Red – Control. One, she was able to have in-person practise for Cheer which was great for her physical wellbeing. The video chat version of their practises while something had been starting to wear on her as they just don’t get to do the same things they do in-person. She was so happy to return to practise and came out of the gym beaming with a smile when we picked her up.
The second for Emelia was knowing that with the next move, provided the numbers continue to trend the same way, will be to Orange – Restrict and that will mean she will be able to have (in a limited sense) friends over to the house. As an only child, it has been the biggest challenge she has faced through this quarantine—all the loneliness. Strange that she can spend an entire day in school in classroom next to her friends and they can’t come in your house, but it’s where we’re at. Emelia is delighted to feel like there might be some light in this long, confusing tunnel.
The other thing that continues around the house has been the commitment to fitness. We’ve all been managing to close our rings every single day for going on months now. Added to the incentive this month is the Eat Well Challenge that comes up every year at this time that encourages both Closing My Rings as well as eating better by tracking and logging your meals with a focus on eating more fruits and vegetables. So far it has been going very well, and I am feeling better for it. And the prize for achieving the goal is a really nice Apple branded tumbler.
One highlight of the weekend was a socially-distanced driveway–slash–front–porch beer with my best friend from growing up, Brian. He has started a fun side project in one of his life’s many side projects called Lake Chipican Hockey – a reference to his hometown of Sarnia and a pond in the middle of Canatara Park where during the pandemic has become a mecca of pond hockey. For fun he came up with a logo and made some hoodies, and like my interest, it has exploded and he’s making tons of them for people who identify with it in the same way I do. Saturday, Brian made the trip from Sarnia to drop off my hoodie and we used it as an excuse to catch up over a beer in the driveway. It was a really great time we both recognized how much we missed.
There have been a lot of little things that have made us feel like there might be a return to some form of normal one day, and that is enough to make use feel better about a really challenging last twelve months. Which it couldn’t come at a better time as we are literally are approaching one year exactly from when the world basically closed down. And we’ve been ready for some time to get a taste of a return to normal.
As John mentioned we finally made the movement from lockdown to red zone in the pandemic reopening levels. It means we are still under pretty strict restrictions but it did allow for some very minor reopening that gave us some hope for a new normal. This week John as able to have customers back in the store on a limited basis, Emelia could return to training although on very tight small groups and we could give Emelia some very minor freedoms.
To say this pandemic is wearing on everyone is to say it lightly. Emelia has been really feeling the isolation recently. She has been a trooper through most of this mess but there are days when the isolation is harder than most. She does get to be back in school but school is not at all what they are used to. She isn’t able to really socialize with her friends there and certainly not much after. This disconnect from the real life people has been hard, hardest on kids and especially for kids with mental health challenges and an only child to boot.
Tuesday she was beyond thrilled to be back at the gym for cheer, it wasn’t exactly the same. Far from the full team training, nothing what training should look like and for no where near as many hours as we have paid for. But we are so happy she is back, she really needed this, she need to connections with her coaches and she needed this challenge to be back in person to do some real tumbling training. She came out of practice on Tuesday smiling from ear to ear. She even got to work on more level up skills including her ariel. She has had this for a while but hasn’t been able to show it off at training to her coaches. She was pretty happy to pull off double ariels in her first practice back.
The second return to some bit of normal for Emelia is that she got to see Olivia face to face for the first time in two months. Stephanie and I agreed that if the girls were masked and distanced they could go to the mall together to do some shopping together. The girls milked this for all it was worth. We dropped them off at noon and the stayed until the mall closed. Emelia was so happy when she came out. She felt like a normal kid for the first time in a long time. I adore the girls friendship, they always have each others back, are each other rock and biggest supporter. They really needed this time together for sure. Emelia felt connected again with her friends, she was able to see her friend Phoenix as well this weekend, the kids went for a long walk and got to reconnect. Both kids have been battling through this pandemic.
Today while the Olivia and Emelia went to the mall the parents got their time to reconnect. Steph, Justin, John and I text all the time but haven’t been able to see each other through lockdown. Today we decided that we would take the chance to catch up by hitting one of the many hiking trails. We found a great one that brought us on an amazing 6 km hike. We caught up, had some great laughs and dreamed about the upcoming camping season. It felt amazing to see friends again. I joked with Steph that our only interaction face to face in months has been work to home, to the grocery store, to home, to work and repeat. It felt soooooo good to get out and catch up.
The covid numbers are moving in the right direction for now so we are hoping that we can move to orange restrictions soon which would mean that Emelia could have Olivia over and she could have some sort of normalish teenager life. For now. We know we still have a long way to go with this nightmare of a pandemic but these small feelings of normal make it bearable. This was a good weekend and so needed.