A year and a week ago, when I wrote the post below, I thought the quarantine would last four weeks — six tops. All we needed was for everyone to stay home and the virus would extinguish itself. Easy peasy.
Maybe that naivete explains my irritating cheeriness — Kids home! Creativity! Bright spots! Where in this post is my terror at going to the market? Where is me spreading newspaper on the table before putting the grocery bags down, wiping down the milk cartons, soaping up my apples, and yelling at my family for not being as stressed out as me? I pinballed between every emotion — maybe these conscious efforts at gratitude were simply to quell the fear.
A year has passed. The world has suffered. We have collectively lost so much. Also, we have adapted. We have gained perspective, and down time, and (need I say it) some weight. But even as vaccines are being administered, my fear has grown like a callus; it will be a challenge to exfoliate. I may never completely excise it.
Now, for nostagia’s sake, I give you a slice of life from the beginning of the pandemic, with my annotations and apologies.
I am one week into my hardcore understanding that “social distance” means do not breathe on anyone with whom I do not live. Maybe you’ve just arrived at that understanding right this second, or maybe you’ve been there longer. For me, it’s about a week, the same week since our freshman came home from college, and our 9th grader’s school closed its doors. My kids do miss their friends. But they love their grandparents, so they get the point and (mostly) do not complain about these extreme measures. To paraphrase my friend Monica, it’s only extreme if you’re willing to cull the elderly and the immune-compromised population.
Let’s move on to the bright spots.
1. Exercise with my kids. I credit my kids’ boredom for two milestone events: (1) Aaron said yes to a sunset walk with me yesterday, and (2) Emmett joined me for a 20 minute yoga video this morning. (We did Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube, it’s free. Adrienne is calming, not “precious,” and can start very slowly for beginners. Or try your local yoga studio and pay them so they can pay their teachers.)
- 3/29/21 Annotation: That was before everyone else also did Yoga with Adrienne. It was also the last time Emmett joined me for yoga.
2. Create. Writing to you now. Working on my work in progress. Planning a virtual book club for our community for Palisades Reads 2020. And made a dance video for pre-schoolers.
- 3/29/21 Annotation: I’m still working on my work in progress. And I’m still wondering if it will ever see the light of day. I repeat Mary Oliver’s poetry for comfort: “Things take the time they take. Don’t worry.”
3. Connect. Zoomed coffee with friends. Zoomed with a gaggle of cousins.
Am hoping for a Zoom dance party, game night and, of course, a Zoom Seder. Will teach my mom to Zoom today. And I old-school called my cousin I haven’t seen in too long.
- 3/29/21 Annotations: I tried Zoom dance and it made me cry, how it paled compared to the real thing.
- I would have throttled you with my bare hands if you’d told me last year that we’d be celebrating a second Zoom Passover.
- At least, as my cousin Greg pointed out, this year’s Zoom Seder didn’t require thirty minutes to get everyone logged in.
4. My Zen moment of the week: Watching my friend feed his baby on Facebook Live.
- 3/29/21 Annotation: This video holds up without any commentary.
May you continue to be well, to love the ones you’re with, and to love the whole wide world. If there is anything we have been reminded of this year is that we are all connected, and that our choices have ripple effects around the world.