This one is heavy. I cried today. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I passed through it and cried. Nkiruka or what is ahead with life is greater. So too with the COVID-19 vaccine I received today. I cried when my turn arrived. We have been waiting for this day for awhile that I almost belted this is the day that the Lord has made. My possibilities with life are endless so pardon me as I rejoice.
About a year ago today, I was scheduled to travel to Washington Dc. I was part of a review group charged to review grants for their scientific potential and impact. I was also 6 months pregnant. News about the pandemic was every and nowhere. We were told it wasn’t as bad as we should expect it to be. I had literally returned from South Africa a couple of days before the trip. Little did I know that it would be my last time traveling. I remember arguing with my husband about my obligations with the review group. He told me my life was more important. I said the virus isn’t really here. He said it was. I said this is an opportunity of a lifetime. He said there would be more. We went back and forth like this with me justifying why traveling even while pregnant with a looming pandemic was okay. He argued it wasn’t.
Looking back, of course his arguments were as sound as they were empathetic. There I was thinking about work and willing to jeopardize my health and that of my unborn baby to prove my productivity points and all he kept saying was that this virus was a disaster looming on the horizon. Of course he is a frontline worker and he had up close and personal encounters with the virus. I relied on what I heard in the news and nothing then was coherent about the pandemic. I remember sending an email that morning against my better desire to cancel my appearance at the meeting. I apologized, asked if there were other ways to participate and looked forward to more opportunities. My husband was relived. I felt sad. That is until I received an email almost immediately from the organizer that the meeting was potentially going to be canceled. That I wasn’t the only one that sent an email. That he was waiting for confirmation from his boss to go ahead and transition the meeting virtually. That more details were forthcoming. Again here I was willing to jeopardize my health for a meeting that the organizers were gearing to cancel anyways.
My husband relishes I told you so moments like this. I often learn a lesson in humility. I didn’t know the pandemic would be devastating. My perception of risk at that time was low. I had just returned from South Africa while pregnant. So how bad can a trip within the country be, I would argue. That I am alive with a health baby to tell this story 12 months later is a phenomenal to me. That I took my first shot of the Moderna vaccine fills my heart with joy. This is the day that the Lord has made. That this journey comes full circle 12 months later is emotional for me. My last in person meeting was canceled exactly a year ago. The pandemic upended so many things I love, so many things I took for granted like the ability to travel or purchase a magazine whenever I traveled. I was so emotional when I saw Harvard Business Review at the grocery store yesterday. It is my go to magazine for long distance travels. To think I haven’t seen one in a year brought tears to my eyes in the middle of buying groceries. The pandemic took so much.
But Nkiruka. What is ahead with life is still great. The pandemic also gave birth to many things I now love, like questions my children ask, our focus on more beautiful ones, listening, inner silence, writing about notions of motherhood along the margins, all life’s many silence, many struggles, many survival, and of course this blog of things I intend to keep. I will keep drawing strength from all of my experiences post the pandemic. I will keep finding my voice, keep writing about the art of motherhood. I will also keep focusing on what matters, how I plan to date greatly, build strongly, adapt well, while securing what matters for me. But for now, Nkiruka. The best is still yet to come. The possibilities with life are endless when you keep the vaccines in mind.