We Do Hard Things (But Not That Hard)


Earlier this afternoon, the Governor of Virginia announced that his administration have ordered all schools to close for the remainder of the school year. Our family continues to be among millions of others swimming in uncertainty and unknown as to what our new normal will look like in the coming months. My facade of adventure that I’ve been painstakingly wearing for my children waned around lunchtime – I made them Bagel Bites and sat them in front of the television. And I went down to the basement to meditate.

So it turns out that I am awful at meditating. Then I tried to do headstands, because why not? Not surprising – I’m not really good at those either. And now my neck hurts so there’s that. Over the years, I’ve said that I am comfortable with the uncertainty that the Army life brings to our family. Sure – it can be frustrating and anger-inducing at times but it can also be exhilarating, amazing, and incredibly rewarding. Perhaps I’ve always embraced the unpredictability because there was the comfort of ‘regular everyday life’ to fall back on. And now that I can’t rely on society operating as normal, the fickle nature of Army life has started to chip away at my worldview that everything will work out in the end. Right? Everything will be okay...

A family motto of ours is ‘We do hard things!’ We have high expectations of our children and ourselves – we believe that tough experiences build character and shouldn’t be avoided just because it’s not the easier path. Clay continues to go into the Pentagon every single day of the week and his schedule will likely remain as such for as long as our country is tackling the pandemic. I continue to manage expectations – both the children’s and my own as we watch society seemingly collapse through our broadband connection. We’re managing to take advantage of close quarters and participate in family activities when we can. While our life is anything but routine right now, it is relatively stable. Not to mention, my husband is not away and has been by my side, both figuratively and physically, through this ordeal. So complaining about the uncertainty and moments of suckiness that exist in our little family bubble isn’t really all that productive – I realize this truth.

It’s not my family I am worried about. Yes – we do hard things. But compared to a lot of families out there, the things we’re currently doing just aren’t that hard. It bothers me that we are doing fine when so many others aren’t. And in my attempt to be socially responsible and protect my family, it’s difficult for me to not feel both guilty and helpless. The narrative changes at such a feverish pace that it’s impossible for me to calibrate my thoughts before I’m pushed in another direction.

I made chicken and dumplings for dinner – it felt like an appropriate meal for a dreary, cold, and drizzly Monday. The kids and I are going to eat dinner in the living room and cuddle together on the couch under my favorite blanket. I’m sure things will change soon after I hit publish – prompting more feelings and more thoughts. But for now, this’ll do.

3 comments on “We Do Hard Things (But Not That Hard)”

  1. Yes, guilty and helpless. Those are definitely two feelings – among many – that I am experiencing . And you’re right – the news are changing so fast that it’s hard to put everything into words that goes through one’s mind during the day. Hang in there – we all are in the same boat.


  2. Thank you for the thoughtful comment. Yes, we’re all in the same boat. I just hate that some people’s boats are better built for the storm that lies ahead.


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