Morning fell, and I rolled over to the exaggerated movements of my baby. Twisting and turning, he stretched and yawned. I stared at him in amazement that he was flesh of my flesh.
Five months had passed, and I was still in awe of my body's ability to create a living thing.
Eventually, he opened his eyes – locking them with mine before smiling the type of smile that made my heart sing. Today we took our time. There was no rush to hurry him off to his grandmother's before I scurried into the office. I would skip the parts of my day where mom guilt taunted me for leaving him and bypass daydreams of real time kisses that came before 5 o'clock.
He sat between my legs as I grabbed my laptop and logged on to work for the day. I smirked at his captivation as my finger strokes quickly pecked away at emails and instant messages.
A calendar reminder sounded off and my husband walked in. His usually stern face showed forth a wide smile as he rhythmically danced toward the bed, winning himself a laugh from our son. "Hey big boy!" he proclaimed to the baby. "How's daddy's man?"
My husband swooped up my son ready to take over his shift as I logged on to my conference call. I loved him more for it. He was a present help, a partner – the type of man I was proud to have a baby with.
The sun was flowing into our room. I looked at its rays illuminating everything it touched as I whispered thank yous to God for more time with the people I love.
Today my husband was home, free to help with the dishes and the baby. He was knocking out tasks around the house and periodically checking in to see if I needed anything while I worked. This was a pleasant change from the weeks before.
We'd both been busy with life. It may have been hormonal, but I'd missed him in passing. The heavens seemed to notice, reimbursing us with time.
I took call after call. Although I was handling business as usual, it felt different. There was a sense of compassion oozing through each conversation. We worked but something about the circumstances made us all a little more human and a little more bound together – even if we lived hundreds of miles away. "Excuse the background noise," our VP said in response to the sound of his son rumbling around in the background.
Oh, he has a son, I thought, realizing that there was more to him than the persona we carry of those in high positions. He was a person like me with a son who made occasional background noise while he was on important calls. How cool? How…human?
A manager sent out a funny picture that started a dialogue. Next, a colleague sent a picture of his workspace, the splendor of majestic mountains visible in the background.
We were learning little pieces of each other. Bonding together in ways we'd never tried before. I liked it. I liked them. I loved work more.
The day had been good. Homemade lunch with family and a strong finish to some projects. The sun was still smiling, inviting us outside.
"Let's go for an evening walk!" I proclaimed to the baby. His juicy bubbles spurting everywhere as I imagined him responding that the walk was a great idea.
Even outside was different. "Look at the families," I whispered.
Husbands and wives were planting gardens together. Sisters were drawing intricate chalk art in their driveways. Grandparents were listening to music as they sat on their porches. Young couples did workouts from their garages. It was as if we'd all slowed down enough to do the things that mattered most. They too were reclaiming their time. Neighbors I'd been too busy to meet waved with friendly smiles and through a simple walk, I felt the love of community.
As was a part of my usual custom, I logged into Instagram. My brother had created a group named "siblings". I chuckled at the cute and corny title, happy that all of us had a new space to check in with foolery.
Again, I was thankful. However slight, this was the beginning of a closer connection to my loved ones.
Next was a video chat with my dad. We hadn't always seen eye to eye, but we'd always found our way back to each other with renewed love. He made funny faces at the baby as he switched between calling himself pop-pop and granddaddy. Multitasking, I cooked dinner as we discussed baby milestones and cracked jokes. His laugh was contagious, and I was just as giddy about our time together as I'd been as a little girl during summers in Alabama.
There are more stories like these. They are moments that will be forever etched in my mind – a silver lining to the fear and devastation caused by COVID-19. Though I cannot minimize the effects of this virus, I cannot ignore the restoration, healing and renewed hope for humanity it has brought along with it.
It is visible all around us, sweeping over our lives in the quietest ways – begging us to be still enough to see it.
Fashion designers are shifting production to protective medical gear. Grocery cashiers and postal carriers are now everyday heroes. Old friends are mending odds. Young people are serving the elderly. Medical professionals are risking it all to save us all.
Even through death we are learning a new appreciation for life and the importance of legacy.
Like everyone else, I am praying that God will heal our land. But in the meantime, I am thankful for the healing power of COVID-19 and the beauty we are receiving in exchange for ashes.
Wherever you are in the world. I see you, I acknowledge you, and I send love to you. Your story may be light-years away from mine but no matter the difference we are all in this together, navigating a new world. I hope that during this time you find the time to love yourself and those around you a little bit more. I hope for you healing of your mind, body, and soul - a rebirth that elevates you like never before.
Featured image by Kandice Guice