How does life begin again? When do we start to live a little? What do we do? How do we make choices for ourselves and our families and those we are living with? Are we hostages to COVID-19 for the rest of the summer? Will we get to see friends and family? Will I be able to go on a date? Will my “quarantine-mates” allow it? Do they get a say?
I’ve been quarantined with my ex, his wife, her ex and our kids for ten weeks now in virtual isolation in a house in the woods of Vermont. We take turns leaving weekly to pick up groceries at a local market where we call our order in to and they put everything in the trunk. In the last few weeks we started taking turns driving an insane amount of time to get the kids a donut at a drive through or previously poo-pooed upon fast food. I never thought a drive-through for a snack or tea could make their days. It does. Anything to switch up our routine or change the daily dynamics in the house.
We are living in Vermont, the state with the least amount of cases. I would say we’re safe. Now, as other states start to open in phases, are we safe to go home to New York City? Are we putting each other in danger if one or a few of us go for a short stay to get clothes from our closets and to take socially distanced, masked walks with parents. NYC is still the capital of coronavirus although, thankfully, our close friends and families that have remained there for the duration are all healthy. They have all continued to take precautions, wear masks and gloves and continue to stay home other than for daily walks with all of their gear.
So now I’m contemplating a short break from this blended family of exes. I have always loved to live. During my cancer treatment that became more important to me than it ever was. Even during chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy I lived my life as much as I felt well enough to do each day. I took precautions but without letting fear control my happiness and mental state. Right now it feels like fear is controlling what happens next. It’s not just my fear. It’s now also the fear of those I’m living with. I want to have a dose of life. I want to see my parents. I want to go home. I want to distance date.
With camp and all summer activities cancelled or paused for the kids it still makes sense to stay here together. There have been mostly positives combined with times of loneliness, just a few conflicts, and calm niceties and politeness. We are still cooking and eating together every single night. The kids are still in school. My ex’s wife and I are still working out together daily. Her ex-husband and I are still bouncing work ideas off of each other and we are all co-parenting and living life together and even having fun.
So, if and when I decide to take social distance from our quarantine, what will that look like and how will we go from there? I never thought I would be planning a potential date with my ex-husband’s input.