People keep asking me how we’re doing. I reply the same as everyone else, with a chipper little “We’re hanging in there. We’re doing the best we can.” Sometimes, that remnant of my bad-ass past self chimes in with a semi-smug, no-big-deal-I’ve-got-this-response of, “I’ve been working from home for two years. I’m used to it.” I say it as if I’m immune to the isolation; just so much stronger, as if waiting for everyone else to get used to it. And for two weeks, that was really easy to believe. Because who can’t hang in there for two weeks? (Me. I’ve been struggling with work-from-home loneliness and isolation for the past two years. Don’t let me fool you. Newsflash: I’m full of shit.)

While this situation has developed rapidly, changing from day-to-day and hour by hour, there’s a part of me that still wears the battle armor and feels the need to present a brave face, even though consciously, I’ve been aware that this was only the beginning. I’ve voiced it. I’ve agreed with people that things will only get worse before they get better. I said a week ago that I wouldn’t be surprised if the kids ended up not seeing the inside of a classroom again this school year.

Even as I write this and think back to when this all really started, I am amazed that it’s only been a little over 2 weeks since it really hit our radar and gave us pause. It’s been the longest two weeks of my life, so much uncertainty and change packed into such a short amount of time.

Yesterday, when I read the headline that the stay at home order had been extended to April 30th and that schools were closed “indefinitely,” I didn’t think to myself, “Yea, saw that coming.” Nope. I went about my business quietly. I went to pick up my boys at my in-laws’ house (the only outside contact we have right now) and sat down with a strangely heavy heart. I chatted matter-of-factly with my mother-in-law about our district’s online learning and how it was going well, about how long I would have to wait for grocery delivery, and other business of the new routine. And as the words “I just miss my mom” started to drift off my lips, I heard my voice quiver and drop off to a whisper. And as I continued on with “I can’t see my sisters or my dad for so long,” my voice became broken as I quickly drew in a sharp breath, warmth teeming at the brim of my eyes, the harsh reality of this whole situation hitting me all at once.

I don’t want to hear about all the things I have to be grateful for; I’m well aware. I don’t need anyone to play devil’s advocate with me, because in case you didn’t already know it, that never helps. It’s just a way for you to try and settle the other person down so you feel more comfortable in their discomfort. Guess what? Sometimes, things just plain suck, and it’s okay to admit it.

This? This sucks. I won’t see my family for at least 6 weeks. What if one of them gets sick and is suffering? I can’t go to them to help and comfort them. I want to hug my friend when she brings me a bag of “quarantine chocolate.” I want to go hiking with my best friend and enjoy the quiet of the woods with her. I want dek hockey Friday through Sunday, soccer on Saturday mornings, and ice skating on Tuesday nights. I want to go treasure hunting at garage sales with my mom at the crack of dawn every Saturday. I want to roll my eyes from behind my mirrored sunglasses when you’re standing next to me being ridiculous or when I hear a stranger say something eye-roll-worthy out in public. I want to be around all of the people in the community that I may not know personally but simply know from my regular routines like the curmudgeon that works at Aldi, Janet from the Shop-n-Save deli, and Dolly from the bakery where I buy all of my cakes. I want my life back. I want you to have your life back. I want the collective life that we all share together to resume. Even if we only know each other from sports, the deli, the neighborhood, the bank, the doctor’s office, wherever it may be, I want you to know that I miss the hell out of each and every one of you. And I honestly can’t wait to see you all again.

It’s okay to admit it. This sucks.