Homebound Happiness

These are tough and tragic times for our world, country, state and city. I say “our” because we are truly all in this together.


It’s been almost three weeks since my family has been “staying at home” (other than my partner, an essential worker) and the order feels more like a prescription than a punishment. I know those feelings seem strange and I definitely fall into the unpopular opinion on this, but we are

happy being homebound.

My family has regrouped…we’ve reconnected, and I find myself refocused on what truly matters.
Perhaps I’ve been a hot mess for so long now, I fully anticipate lemons with my lemonade, I can’t really say… but here are some of the reasons why I think my family has found homebound happiness:

1.) Selflessness: The Stay-At-Home Order doesn’t only affect my family and me. We are openly helping everyone in the community and our nation by staying home. We are keeping each other safe from harm, as best we can, while helping others. Staying within the guidelines of Social Distancing is respectful and is a selfless act- an act from our heart, instead of our egos. I was able to teach my children about what selflessness means and discuss it during our makeshift school time. This, for me, was an opportunity to teach them to behave nobly and that loving others requires sacrifice, large or small.

2.) Quality Time With My Kids: According to Gary Chapman, Quality Time is One of Five Love Languages. It’s the one that centers around togetherness and expressing your love and affection with undivided attention.

UNDIVIDED.

My life as a single mother has constantly required me to work outside of my home, sometimes holding down two jobs, to support my children. Most of the time, my “off days” were filled with appointments, chores, schoolwork, their activities, errands and many other obligations. Chalk it up to the former Mom Guilt, but even on their worst days, I never tire of savoring every moment with my kids.
The world’s demands can be like a looming thief waiting to steal any energy I’ve saved for them, I’ve been forever tired, forever multi-tasking. Perhaps it is because I’ve lost a baby before, maybe it’s just because I’m a sensitive person and can already feel how empty my home will feel once they are grown…

but I am loving the fact that now I have the world’s permission to just sit and exist with them.

I can watch them play outside without thinking about where I have to be next or what I have to do next. I can blow bubbles with my toddler without feeling stressed about how I won’t have time to clean the mess later. I can listen to my teenager laugh at a funny movie without telling him to pipe down because everyone has to be up at 5:30 A.M. I can read that extra chapter with my 2nd grader who’s pushing the limits of his bedtime without worrying if he’s getting enough rest. We get to slow down and enjoy each other like I’ve always wanted to until the world commanded otherwise.

3.) Stronger Relationship: There’s just something about worrisome times that makes a couple value each other a little more. My boyfriend and I are employed at the same restaurant and we tend to work opposite schedules so that our baby doesn’t have to go to daycare (to save ourselves from that expense in order to continue working on our fixer-upper). While I was asked to stay home from work and have the kids to handle, he still has to work full time since his position qualifies him as essential.

However, in the past two weeks, we hold hands a little longer, we can actually see each other instead of “switching off”. The madness, I believe, has given him a whole new appreciation of my role in our daily lives because he has taken on some of the burdens that were mine before this (grocery bill, grocery haul) and I didn’t have to ask (a miracle!). Because I am not running around with an over-filled schedule and my kids are safe with us -there’s a sense of calm that lingers in the air at home. Because the restaurant is not open as late as it once was, he has the ability to be home at a decent hour and I am actually awake. We can watch a little TV, we have the time to talk about our day and on account of the unknown future that lingers outside and how we are handling Social Distancing, I am encouraged to get through these tough times together. His small imperfections have suddenly been replaced with the countless reasons I love him and

love is truly the only lasting legacy.

4.)Faith Renewal: It’s quite easy to make idols out of our jobs, the people we love, and our hobbies. When you’re part of a culture that thrives on trend, it’s simple enough to fall into the trap of “the latest thing” that’s going to change our life, make us happier, etc. I am a Christian, but I fall into this trap all of the time. The world is noisy, but I believe God is constant, steadfast, and that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I have used this time to rest in Him and finally devote more time to praying for myself, my family, and the world.

 We are humans and just being alive can be wearying…add a pandemic into the mix and it’s almost debilitating.

Now homebound, I am out of excuses like “not having the time for church” or being  “too tired” to pray. I am beyond grateful for the technology to attend service virtually (and talk to friends and family members) and now that I’m off on Sundays and focused less on working for the busy brunch crowd- I’m discovering that if I am wrapped up in things of lesser value, I cannot experience His peace. My time at home has caused me to open my heart and mind to Him once more and accept His gentle reminder that He is in control.

5.)Undervalued Job Appreciation: There’s nothing like Social Distance to put so many blessings we take for granted into perspective. I feel honored to know so many of the true heroes on the front lines of this epidemic. When all of this comes to an end, and I’m hoping that’s sooner than later, I will do my best to remember that

if it weren’t for our medical professionals/healthcare workers (every single one of them) we wouldn’t even have a chance at a survival rate.

We, as a society, need to remember the fact that we absolutely DEPENDED on our essential personnel risking their own well-being to care for the sick or to aid in making Social Distancing so simple for us, often in UNDERPAID/ OVERCROWDED conditions. All first responders, utility workers, sanitation workers, postal workers, package deliverers, shoppers, Amazon employees, restaurant workers, truck drivers, retail workers and grocers have spent years dealing with the public, some mistreated by customers, ridiculed for not having a “fancier career’”, or their position being downplayed by society.

COVID-19 has highlighted just how much our lives depend on these humble occupations for our own survival.

Most of these workers have to keep working to earn an income and to serve us. I hope once this is over, conditions for them don’t go back to normal. I’m hoping beyond hope that they receive the “celebrity status” they most certainly deserve, more appreciation from all of us, and perhaps even some pay raises!

I hope you all continue to stay safe and healthy at home!

heatherwestbrook
Heather is "Mom, Mama, Mommy" to her 15-year-old son Camiron, 8-year-old-son Owen, and 9-month-old baby Griffin. She was born in Eunice, Louisiana and has lived in New York, Alabama, and Lake Charles, Louisiana before settling in Baton Rouge 5 years ago. She is a Veteran of the U.S. Army and a former Flight Attendant who graduated from FAE in Orlando, Florida as Valedictorian of the program. Heather is employed at Willie's Restaurant on Coursey as a FOH Manager. Heather is a bibliophile who is obsessed with reading and a cosplayer whenever she can find the time, focusing on Comic Book Supheroes, Star Wars and Harry Potter. She loves to write, a true passion of hers. She also enjoys running, crocheting, and drinking coffee!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Heather, you are such a gifted writer. I feel certain that anyone who reads this will have received a gift as well. A renewed feeling of hope, gratitude and love. Stay safe and keep writing. Melanie Kleinpeter

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