The first time I saw one, I paused and considered, waiting for a revelation. What had seemed important to me before that was now trivial? The "aha" moment I anticipated didn't come. A new, minimalist perspective did not awaken in me, as I sort of expected it to.
The truth is, there is nothing I don't miss.
There are some things I don't miss as much as I thought I would. I don't miss taking the kids on outings as much as I thought I would - but a part of that is that they don't seem to miss it as much as I thought they would. I thought we'd go stir-crazy, but it's actually been...fine.
I, of course, miss the obvious things. Chatting at preschool pick-up, browsing Target, taking the kids to a playground or library. Sitting outside at a restaurant on a warm day, chatty and relaxed, not worrying about dinner or dishes. Oh, and not calculating every move when I go to a public place, and not wearing a suffocating mask. And, boy, could I use a haircut.
But, I also miss unlikely things like squeezing in frenetic errands during school time. Dragging Mister P to the grocery store or Costco, because of the traditions we had woven into these trips. The questionable sanitation, but undeniable fun of bouncy houses. I even miss the morning hustle, because its cacophony culminated the blissful calm of two kids at school.
Maybe...I don't miss the kid junk scattered all over the back of the car. Or paying almost $3 for a gallon of gas. Not that it matters too much, considering I'm down just half a tank over the last two months.
The perspective that has changed for me is that I've been reminded how important it is to celebrate human relationships. I was keenly aware of this my last year of high school; in fact, I wrote a college entrance essay about it. I knew that my time with my school friends was fleeting and coming to a close, and I wanted to hug that time close. Since the pandemic, I've realized how much "friend-time" (and family-time) I'd been putting off until later...when we're not so busy, when it's more convenient, when we get around to it...and here we are, with so much time, and not able to spend it together.
I think about Mister P's last morning of preschool. I ran around, doing a thousand errands with my last 2 hours of unencumbered free time for who knows how long. It felt necessary. One of my stops was for a coffee at a local coffee shop, where I saw a group of moms from a class that had graduated from our preschool - I knew most of them. I imagine they will always be thankful they spent that morning together. I wonder if I should've spent my morning differently. Probably. If only I’d known.
So, when the world comes safely back online, I’m doing all the things and seeing all the people. Hopefully, with a renewed sense of joy and gratitude.