Our friends call us K-squared, but we’re just Kristy and Kaitlin, newlyweds navigating COVID-19 in Danville, VA.
We met in late 2018, after months on terrible dating apps. We were on our last app, and last nerve, but hit it off instantly late one Saturday night. It was a quick connection. We firmly believe everything happens for a reason. We were in the right place and time for each other, letting all the dominos fall where they may. We quickly unpacked with each other, passing articles and books written by the Gottman Institute between us. We were open and honest from the jump. Our vulnerability laid the foundation for our relationship and set us up for our time in quarantine.
Before we were even engaged, we planned a small destination wedding in Tybee Island, GA, then a big reception in Danville. We were in a contract for a beach rental before the proposals were even made! Both of us had plans to pop the question, but Kristy proposed first, with our close friend, Scott Jones, filming the surprise. He was also the perfect choice for the officiant at our wedding. Kaitlin wisely got our wedding photographer, Sarah Goodwin, to document her proposal the very next week. We were engaged in September 2019 and married March 7th, 2020. Our wedding was perfect: beautiful weather, our family surrounding us, and an all-day celebration just as we had planned. In honor of our relationship and its validity, Kaitlin’s father read Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court decision allowing marriage equality. We were and are very lucky to have a supporting family and loving friends by our sides.
Our week in Tybee was the turning point for COVID-19 in the United States. The Thursday before we returned, Kaitlin’s supervisor texted her to check her email before she returned on Monday. They were shutting down offices across the country and moving employees to work from home the Friday prior to our return. This was our first sign that COVID-19 would change our worlds. That same day we were notified that our annual trip to Virginia Beach the next weekend to participate in the Yuengling Shamrock 8K would not happen as the race had been canceled. Kaitlin’s family is very Irish, which makes this the perfect annual event and would have been their ninth year going. This was our second indication of the intensity of COVID-19. We sadly left our oasis with a glow only newlyweds have and started the drive on Friday to North Carolina to visit Kaitlin’s sister. We decided the only thing we needed was hand sanitizer for the road trip and casually started looking for it on our way. No luck. When we arrived in Jacksonville, Camp Lejeune had already confirmed its first case of COVID-19—our last sign that something big would happen. At this point, COVID-19 was all anyone was talking about and continued to make appearances in our newly married lives.
Back in Danville, Kaitlin immediately started working from home. Our home was only equipped with one desk, set up for one person to occasionally spend a day working from home. But Kristy only worked two days before her job shifted to a skeleton crew, so a camping table was Kaitlin’s new desk. Meetings changed from in-person to virtual. Phone calls were a necessity for both our jobs. Kaitlin would make a phone call, then Kristy. Our schedules were back to back. Virtual happy hours and team meetings. We quickly watched each other interact in ways we had never seen at work. Navigating work in a make-shift office for two has made us realize we set ourselves up from the beginning to succeed. We talk to each other and work things out, even in the strangest of life events.
Our “honeymoon” quickly extended because of the quarantine. A honeytine? A quarinmoon? The only real struggle has been for Kristy, having to fuss at Kaitlin, to keep six feet away from someone and certainly NOT hug them! Phrases like “Congratulations! I haven’t seen you since you’ve been married” continued for much longer because we still haven’t seen some people since we’ve been married. We are both very social people and feed off of time with our families and friends, so that part has been very difficult, especially after such a wonderful life event. We hosted a social distancing Easter Egg hunt just to have a little since of “normalcy.” We hid eggs in our friend’s yards for them to hunt and bought prizes for the person who did it the fastest. It was a hit and will probably become an annual event. It wasn’t the same, but it helped our hearts.
Since our state moved to a stay-at-home order, we have pushed our reception back. It makes us sad, but it was the better decision for our out-of-town families and those who can’t afford to come. We have been fortunate enough to have our wedding and our jobs. We have not been able to change our names or combine bank accounts, so the feeling of being married has been lost. It feels like it happened months or years ago. Bigger things took the wind out of it quickly with everyone, including us, worrying about our health and the health of our loved ones. We have learned through all this, though: we married the right person. Kristy is kind and calm. She cares so much for the people around her. When Kaitlin gets overwhelmed from work or the news, Kristy is there. Kaitlin loves big and wants to hug the world during a time of crisis, the time we are in now. Kristy gets lots of hugs for herself and for everyone else. Kaitlin is the person that pulls the blanket up to make you feel content and comforted. Kaitlin makes it possible for Kristy to be calm, because she makes the house a place we can be ourselves, no matter what we need to do. In a time of COVID-19, we have continued to dance, laugh, and ugly cry. We are a team. Us against COVID-19 and the stresses we feel from it.