Gratitude the cure for COVID-19 quarantine

Last Monday I was supposed to start the week with a 90-minute gratitude walk at Mayslake Forest Preserve.

Instead, I was home in quarantine while my COVID-19 positive husband was upstairs in isolation.

I know that the best antidote to focusing too much on my troubles is to think about the things for which I am grateful. And so - without the benefit of the gratitude walk - I embarked on a list. Despite all the reasons I had to complain, I found plenty to be grateful for.

• Bandwidth

Dan's work calls, Ainsley's school Zooms and my own writing and editing gave our internet service a run for its money. Fortunately we all were able to get done what we needed to get done, with few technology-related headaches.

• Opportunities to eavesdrop

I don't want to spend a lot of my time listening to instructions on how to multiply and divide fractions, but I enjoyed overhearing snippets of conversation between Ainsley and her classmates while they were in Zoom breakout rooms. My favorite - a classmate who prefaced a comment by saying, "When I was younger ..."

• Emojis

With communication primarily occurring through texts and emails, I've come to thoroughly appreciate all the ways friends and family can convey love and humor, and even sarcasm, through a little yellow cartoon face.

• Zoom

A wonderful tool for work, yes, but also a way to eat dinner as a family while one person is locked in the bedroom and the other two are in the kitchen. We also spent TV nights on Zoom, enjoying episodes of "The Amazing Race" with Ainsley.

• Laughter

I'm not sure what Dan found so funny while he had COVID-19, but more than once I heard his deep laugh ringing out from the upstairs bedroom. I smiled every time it happened.

• No dress code

When you're working from the dining room table, even business casual is too formal. Instead I was able to dress in jeans or sweats and a T-shirt. Some days, I confess, I worked in my pajamas until lunch!

• Christmas lights

Normally I am a stickler about waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up the Christmas lights - or at least to plug them in. Even though I still think it looks strange to have mums on the front porch and a Christmas tree in the window, this year I find I am enjoying the bright, cheerful appearance of so many homes in my neighborhood.

• Puzzle breaks

Someone sent us a Harry Potter puzzle to help us keep busy while stuck at home. It's a nighttime scene, and other than a few glimmering lights, the colors are dark blue, dark gray and black.

If you can let go of the frustration, searching for the right color and shape can generate an almost meditative state.

• Laughter

Did I mention how important it is to laugh? One day I sent Dan a quick text saying I almost wished I was in isolation so I could work in peace without Ainsley asking me whiny questions. I forgot she was using Dan's iPad at the time - and that the text would pop up on that screen. Fortunately, she thought it was hilarious and we shared a good laugh.

This will be an unusual Thanksgiving for all of us this year. Whatever circumstances you face, I wish you a holiday filled with laughter, love and gratitude.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean