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Erin Spatz column: Finding the bright spots

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Erin Spatz

Hello, my fellow struggle bus riders! Wow! We are still here, together and alone. So weird, right? It’s still hard. No one is sure much, or what exactly we should be doing. But, in an effort not to be swallowed up by the weirdness I’ve made an attempt to focus on the good spots. It feels like a lot of work to find the bright spots, but it can be done.

Cake. We have had so much. The kids have each made one and they’ve been eaten in record time. I even found some peach fruit cups taking up fridge space that I had guilt about tossing out, guess who made and then ate a whole peach cobbler? Me! Cake for breakfast, cake for snacks, we are living examples of the saying “let them eat cake!” Cake is bringing the joy. It’s also helping my pants, because the button and loop on my jeans are doing a great job of social distancing. My thighs are failing at social distancing now too, but I can’t get everything right!

Walks. We have gone on more walks than I think we’ve gone on in a lifetime. These are not calorie burning walks either. These walks sort of resemble the speed of the Jews wandering the desert for 40 years. So slow. We have walked so slowly in fact, at one point Waylon, our two-year-old riding in the stroller told us to hurry up! Slow walks are our jam!

Vacations. That’s right vacations. I took a vacation. During this quarantine I’ve discovered that in order to recharge and be a person I need space. Alone. There is none. I have tried everyday to be alone for at least 20-30 minutes. To sit in complete silence. This has taken way more work to accomplish than you’d think. During one very, very, (did I mention very) trying day I had reached my limit. I marched myself outside to sit in the sun, take some deep breaths and refocus. About half a breath in, I hear a knock on the window followed by loads of giggling. There in the window was about half of the Spatz kids. Yes, they are cute but I was trying to be alone. Y’all, there was nowhere to go! Every spot in my yard had a window view of me! I was left with no choice. I sent my neighbor a text and told her that I’d be in her yard sitting for a while, and to please just ignore me. I was grumpy. That was my first vacation in my neighbor’s yard.

Forced creativity. Sometimes forced creativity can be great! We’ve had to do things to amuse ourselves that aren’t usually on the list on things we’d do for fun. This forced creativity has made me think outside the box on so many things. One area has been our meals. Buying food in the quantity our family consumes is a bit trickier. And some things I just got tired of searching for, like pasta. I know how to make pasta from scratch and there is literally no excuse for me to not make it now. I can make as much as we need, whenever we need it. The other area has been our meat purchases. I gave up hunting and started supporting local-ish farms that will allow me to buy the amount we need. This also supports them. These ways may take me a bit longer, but I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon.

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Cross fit. I have taken up cross fit. The other night, my beloved husband suggested we start doing push ups together. Since we are together so much. I reminded him that I have been doing cross fit every day! He acted like this was shocking news. Listen, if pushing two toddlers on the swings for hours (hours!) y’all is not cross fit, then please don’t tell me what cross fit actually is! I mean, I promise I spent at least two hours one day just pushing Hank and Waylon on the swings. Why I am not ripped is beyond me. Actually, I know why. See the paragraph about cake.

Finding joy in this weirdness is not easy. It takes work, and some days it feels like too much work. It would be easier to stay in a funk and watch TV. Feelings are a choice and they are often a hard choice. We are not always going to make the right choice, but joy is a better feeling. Not only does it make our present better, but it changes the future as well.

May we all choose joy.

Erin Spatz lives in Pawleys Island and is the author of the book, “Who Left Me In Charge.”

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