I was driving home from town this week after running a few errands and happen to catch on XM radio a not-so-scientific poll that I found interesting. The question was something along the lines of . . . “Have you experienced any good from staying home during COVID-19?”
It's easy to forget the 45 days of anxious waiting for the stay-home order to be lifted. Now that our little corner of the world is starting to open back up, many states are still under stay-home orders and self-quarantining.
I was a bit surprised to find the No. 1 answer was saving money. With the unemployment rates skyrocketing, business closings, family to feed day in and day, It took me some thinking on this – a moment to see the other side of the coin or so to speak. Maybe it's because I don't go out much anyway. I’ve always been a bit of a homebody but after a moment of thinking on it I could see how it could have saved folks a few extra dollars. Not using gas and resources to be out and about, no unnecessary shopping, no vacations or travel, staying in instead of eating out . . . I suppose it could have been a source of savings for some.
Number two was spending quality time with family. I've touched on this a few times in my column since this all began. This was a real eye-opener for my household and I hope we continue with some of the habits we have gotten into while we were stuck together. Such as, eating meals as a family again and playing games to pass the time. So far, we're doing pretty well! Though we're not completely back to normal while still being diligent with our social distancing. As a family we are still spending more time together than usual. Do I dare admit it's kind of nice that the kids have nothing else better to do but come visit mom?
Three of my kids live within walking distance so they stop by almost daily to just hang out and yes, raid mom’s fridge for home-cooked leftovers. Lately, on Friday or Saturday nights when they would usually be going out with friends, they come home instead and play games together or bring their instruments and play music all evening. Of course for mom it doesn't get much better than that and I've enjoyed the extra time with them tremendously.
The third answer was being thankful for the little things. I tried to remember when was the last time I was thankful to go to the store? Or just step out and take a walk and breathe the fresh air? Thankful to walk back into our favorite diners or celebrate a friend’s birthday by more than just a phone call.
When was the last time I was thankful to hug my dad and mom? It's become such a mundane gesture over the course of a lifetime. Every time I leave my parents or my siblings we automatically give a hug and say 'I love you.' But when was the last time I took in such a precious moment and really appreciated that gift? It was only when I could no longer hug my parents or visit my siblings that I realized how fleeting life can be and I am grateful to have the chance to hug them and tell them I love them in person again. I'm grateful to know better now than to not cherish the tender moments in life we sometimes allow to slip by without a second thought.
I guess the old saying is true . . .”Every cloud has a silver lining.”
I would love to hear your 'silver lining' amidst COVID-19. If you would like to share, please Email me at stacey@thepaper24-7.com
Also, as we slowly begin to have community events again. if you have an upcoming event that is open to the public and would like me to announce it in my column, please e-mail me! I'd appreciate at least a couple of weeks in advance so that I don't miss it. However, I'll try to get as many 'open to the public' events listed as I can. Please remember to include dates, times and a contact phone number in case I need further information.
Until next week, stay safe, stay healthy and remember . . . we're all in this together!

Stacey Baschwit works at The Paper of Montgomery County, along with her many other duties, and writes a weekly column about the people, places and events that make up her world.