Pandemic: May

I wonder when going to a restaurant is going to feel normal again. It was such a nothing thing before, to pop into a place and grab a bite. Now it feels momentous.

We had talked about travelling more with the baby, getting on a plane sooner than we had with our preschooler. I’d never quite had the energy to drive that forward, and now it seems like we’ll be waiting a few years anyway. There’s still a line for ‘vacations’ in our budget. It’s not hope; it’s inertia.

The hardest is school. I don’t really work, I can carry on with childcare indefinitely but for the grind and the muscle and joint strain–there’s no massages yet, though I wonder if I could get someone to set up a table in my backyard? But this was the year my oldest was to start kindergarten, and I don’t know what that will be like if it happens. I had counted on his daycare preparing him for the transition to kindergarten–it’s the same building–but who knows what any of this will be like?

I wonder when we can see the dinosaurs at the museum again, and the sharks at the aquarium.

There are places where things are better. We could have been one of those places, but for politics and incompetence.

I don’t think the baby will get swings for her birthday in July. One of our books says she at the age where she’ll learn to wave bye-bye when people leave, but people don’t leave. The preschooler wants two friends over for his birthday in August. Our last shopper is better at picking ripe pears than I am. I guess that’s something.

The world is angry about the same old garbage and we’re tired of this new garbage. Those early days when the internet seemed caring and helpful again are gone.

On some days, I believe we’ll be out of this. I watch the numbers daily, I have favourite epidemiologists and dashboards. It’s okay if it’s not quite normal as long as my son can have school again. I remember arguing with him about swings in March before they closed them; I’m glad I didn’t have the heart to put my foot down. It’s only recently he’s been confident enough to climb the playground equipment, to sit on the big kid swings, to have specific friends that matter to him. I worry this won’t all come back for him.

I’m trying to re-plan my life so that it sustains this going on indefinitely, and then I get depressed about this going on indefinitely.


Pandemic: April

The smell of bleach is comforting. Early in the pandemic, I left the fancy Lysol sprays to the hoarders and started mixing my own 10% bleach solution in a spray bottle. Used it extensively at first, then not much, now again. Like hot sauce, I use that shit on everything.

Every day is a long Saturday. The kids are home, they are young enough to be happy, but the oldest is old enough to remember that things are different now. He wants to go to a restaurant, a different park to play in instead of just the field behind the school that is (for the moment) still open. He asks when outside will be closed.

He’s developing his own long list of things to do when school opens again. He doesn’t know that one of his best friends, who lives down the street, will have moved away by the time that happens, and so the last time they walked home together is the last time they will ever walk home together.

The weather is nice. I’d hoped to take the baby to the playground when the weather was nice, and see what she thought of the swings. That will wait. Her first birthday is in July; I hope we can give her playground swings.

I wish I had gotten around to starting a garden. Or renovating the third floor so the kids could use it, as it is literally broken plaster and exposed wires up there. This is on my list of things for when the schools open again. Getting outside regularly with the kids has been good for me, as long as I don’t notice how empty everything is. This also on my list.

My mother is, at last, not too busy to cancel every other visit with her grandkids, except visits are cancelled. This means she is, at last, not too busy to grieve my dad’s death from last year. My father-in-law is lonely and bored and staying inside, but at least this is nothing new.

If my dad had died this year instead of last year, we would not have been able to have sometimes over thirty people in the waiting room, visiting, comforting, sometimes annoying. Mom would have had to make the decision to take him off the precious ventilator alone, and quickly. We would not have been able to have a memorial and funeral with hundreds of people attending. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful my dad taught me about making money, and helped me make a lot of it. because we are busy and tired but there are a lot of small problems we can solve by throwing money at it.

Our downstairs tenants have sent their toddler to her grandmother’s for the duration. They miss her, but two working parents in a one bedroom basement apartment with an active child is untenable. It’s a hard choice, but I also envy them. I could do child-free pandemic. I could read and watch TV and make sourdough starter if I could find enough flour. We could declutter the third floor and stuff our garage with the junk. Maybe we could even demo the plaster. We could sleep in, although I have found I can get an Instacart slot if I wake up early, so at least the kids ensure that happens.

I need to take care of my back. There aren’t going to be any massages for a while. Ice packs and Advil are my best bet.

A friend of mine posted, children who grew up with trauma seem fine in a crisis. We’ve learned to cope, be calm, solve problems, ignore the chaos. But we’re not fine. Her therapist told her that; it took her a long time to believe it. It has taken me a long time to believe it.

Every day is wake up, feed kids, get dressed, play, lunch, naps for kids, play, make dinner, play, videos, bath, books, bed, clean up. Every single day. The routine helps; it breaks up the time into survivable chunks. We’ve gone from panic to trudging along. There will be no breaks, but I can’t think about that. One day I will have to push myself to do some work again, but I can’t think about that. I’m not fine, but I can’t think about that.