A friend commented to me just the other day, “It’s funny. I don’t think, within our little circle at least, that COVID has really affected us that much.”
His statement surprised me. I responded quickly and honestly. “Well, in my case, it’s shut down everything—everything—that I do, or have done at least for about the last twenty-five years.”
His observation is completely valid, too. For him, his job in food manufacturing has continued; several of the ladies continue in various functions within the educational system. Other friends are still farming, working with electricity or heating/cooling and nursing. There might have been a few bumps in the past eight months, sure. But largely, life has continued as normal.
Not so for my sister. She works at a college. All employees have taken a voluntary pay cut, ranging from three to seven percent; this saved about eighty jobs. But the increased demands to cover all the extra needs that COVID brings to a university campus have her working longer hours with intense pressure.
Today, I am determined to make this Monday as stress-free as I can for her. It’s a three-day weekend, and right now, we are making gnomes. For me, my thoughts are far away from closed borders and visa bans. For her, there are no concerns about catching up and doing more with less staff.
Instead, we are completely engrossed with the choices of material for a hat and a body, the color of a fake fur beard and the size of a pompon nose. We are completely engrossed on finding the most efficient way to sew the pieces together and how to hot-glue hats onto gnome bodies without burning our fingers. As we finish each one, we hold it up and declare it “adorable” and “cute”, carefully placing it in the growing lineup.
Three and half hours fly by before she needs to leave for home. After she leaves, my daughter joins me.
The creative process keeps me going all afternoon. By the end of my gnome-making spree, I have twenty-two adorable little fellows stretched out across the table.
I’m suddenly aware that in my quest to give my sister a change of focus, I have done the same for myself–plus added in some special time with my daughter. A silver lining, all the way around!