Life’s a Beach By Shelley Murphy

By Shelley Murphy

I’ve been thinking a great deal—OK, worrying a lot—about what the world will look like after the coronavirus pandemic.

I realize we’ll be living amid this virus for the foreseeable future, but as we move toward the post COVID-19 era, I ponder the pandemic’s lasting effect on our day-to-day lives.

No one really knows the extent of the aftermath, yet some are prophesying the unprecedented time ahead.

I think Yogi Berra, one of the greatest catchers in baseball history and one of the wittiest, said it best: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

As we begin moving forward, I’m contemplating my time in quarantine. My silver lining amidst despair is that for the first time in years, I’m living under the same roof with both of my boys.

My younger son moved home last summer. His temporary stay began after he graduated from college and leapt into law school. My older son’s spontaneous weekend visit in March has morphed into an endless excursion.

A few months ago, I never thought I’d commemorate this Mother’s Day with both of my boys. In recent years, I grew accustomed to spending the holiday by attending an Angels baseball game with one of my two sons, but rarely both.

Most of us moms can agree that in the century since President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation making Mother’s Day a national holiday, Sunday, May 10, 2020 tops the short list of extraordinary celebrations.

My sons joined forces and formulated a plan to differentiate the second Sunday in May from an otherwise unrecognizable calendar.

They picked up takeout from one of my favorite local restaurants and, against their wills, participated in an afternoon Scrabble tournament.

While I’m grateful for the unexpected opportunity to shelter-in-place with my adult children, I do wish the circumstances were different.

I’m treasuring our moments together, but admit, at times, our crowded abode becomes a bit contentious.

Recently, my older son announced we’d marked day 67 of togetherness in our bunker. I asked him to check his math, certain he’d forgotten a third digit.

Last week, our asylum faced turbulent times, when the pandemic threw us a couple of curveballs. First, my husband narrowly avoided stepping barefoot on a baby rattlesnake in our backyard.

Then, the upstairs bathroom that my three millennial roommates share sprung a leak, and water gushed downstairs into our garage, thus instigating an impromptu remodel. Years from now, I hope I don’t regret my hurried decorating decisions made online.

I’m struggling to picture what both my bathroom and life will look like years from today.

Before COVID-19, I thought I had an idea of what the approaching future held for me and my family. But the recent projections for post-pandemic life are proving problematic.

Indeed, the health and economic consequences of the coronavirus are the foremost concerns, but the virus also wreaks havoc on the calendar’s milestone moments.

In a period of a few short weeks, the celebrations our family carefully had planned crumbled under the weight of COVID-19.

Next month, my husband and I anticipated boarding airplanes, trains, and ships throughout Europe to celebrate a special anniversary—but our bucket list trip is canceled.

In July, my older son thought he’d be gambling alongside friends enjoying a weekend bachelor party—but the wedding venue shuttered, and the engaged couple is considering a courthouse ceremony.

My younger son, after finishing his first year of law school, planned to mark the achievement in Nashville with friends—but his plans are now indefinitely postponed.

I try to envision what the future holds, but my mind can’t grasp the fallout from this watershed moment in modern human history.

I hope that when we’re on the other side of this pandemic, the world can return to normalcy, whatever that may look like.

Perhaps, the great Yogi Berra summed it up best: “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

For more than 20 years, Shelley Murphy and her husband have lived in San Clemente, where she raised her two sons. She’s a freelance writer and has been a contributor to the San Clemente Times since 2006.

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