I noticed something today that surprised me.
Our state has a “stay at home” order that our family has been following. Well except my husband and daughter both work at hospitals, and they still go to work… My grandson and I faithfully stay at home, but we’ve been getting a little cabin fever. I thought going to a big garden center and getting vegetable starts and some flowers would make me feel better.
When I got to the garden center, everything was different. First, we had to make an appointment online to even go shopping. At our appointed time they checked us in and gave us a 30-minute shopping slot. Half of the nursery was blocked off and there were signs everywhere telling us to stay away from each other. In addition there were other markings on the ground directing traffic and keeping customers apart. The cashiers had Plexiglas barriers in front of them, and 6 feet away was a taped square on the floor for us to stand in while being rung up.
Worst of all, they didn’t have what I was looking for – Cherry tomato starts and a certain type of flower. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel better after my shopping trip, even though I bought $100 of pink and white geraniums and some lobelia and alyssum.
I didn’t feel better because I thought that shopping for flowers would make my life normal again.
On the drive home I thought about how I am also looking for food to make me feel better during our time at home. What I realized is that no amount of shopping or eating can solve the fact that COVID-19 life is different than my regular life. It’s also a fact that plant shopping is not the same experience now as it was last spring. I just can’t fill that “need” in my chest with food or flowers, because this emptiness is caused by grief, boredom and uncertainty.
I was coming to terms with my feelings right in the middle of the nursery when I realized that they didn’t have what I wanted. I felt sad and disappointed, and perhaps a little angry and frustrated. Eventually I saw some pink and white geraniums and decided that even though they weren’t exactly what I wanted and needed, geraniums were going to represent gardening for me during the COVID-19 crisis. I was still was sad, disappointed and frustrated, but I can deal with those emotions because I know we are actually dealing with a sad, disappointing and frustrating time. No amount of cherry tomato starts or a particular flower is going to fix that.
It’s ok to feel sad, disappointed, frustrated, anger and uncertainty.
I’m probably going to remember these feelings every time I see the geraniums this summer that came home with us today. Watching them grow will help me realize that this difficult time in each of our lives will also pass.