Michelle Martin

Waiting game

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

When I look back this time in our lives, the thing that I think will stand out most is the waiting.

Waiting for the rain to stop so we can take the dog for a walk.

Waiting for my husband to come home with groceries so there’s something different to eat.

Waiting for the cloth masks made by a friend in Michigan to come in the mail.

Waiting for Teresa to finish playing Animal Crossing so I can watch the Great British Baking Show on the living room TV.

Waiting for the bread to rise.

Waiting for one of the kids to finish showering so I can clean up.

Waiting for the hot water to come back.

Waiting for flowers to bloom.

When we began sheltering at home in mid-March, there were no flowers in the yard, just the points of the early spring bulbs poking through the dirt. Since then we have had crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. The forsythia bush across the street is in full bloom, as is the white dogwood tree down the block. The arctic daisies in the yard have their buds, and it won’t be long for the peonies.

We’ve managed a bumper crop of dandelions as well.

Of course we are waiting for the big things, too: We’re waiting for shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions to be lifted, to be able to go to a baseball game or the beach. Teresa wants to go back to school and play tag and four-square instead of sitting at home playing online games with her friends. Frank wants to know whether he will be able to return to school in the fall, or if his classes will still be online.

We want to go to Mass again, to receive Communion and see and feel the community around us.

But we can’t do that yet, and we don’t know when we can. Public health experts tell us that the more people go out, and, especially, the more people gather, the more the virus spreads, and people who feel safe being part of a crowd might never feel sick, but could carry the virus, infecting anyone from the person who rings up their groceries to their own family members.

So for now, we wait. We sacrifice the things we want for the safety of everyone — not just for us and our family, but also for the essential workers at the grocery store and the pharmacy, the mail carriers and delivery people, and the medical personnel who put themselves at risk to care for others.

Before this happened, when days were full of appointments and schedules and errands, I often welcomed any time I had to wait. It offered a chance to catch my breath, think a bit, maybe even read a few pages or do a crossword puzzle.

Now we must do the same thing: Think, pray, charge our batteries, so that we can be ready for whatever is to come.


  • family life
  • coronavirus