february notes

I’m sitting at the dining room table in a silent house. Refrigerator humming. Cars splashing by occasionally out front. A foot of buttercream snow covers the houses and bushes and yards–we’re living in a snow globe.

The freshly-made coffee sitting beside my laptop has milk in it. After going nearly a week drinking black coffee (because we were out of milk, because for some reason milk from Fresh Thyme goes bad a week before its date), this feels like a great luxury. We really have to notice luxuries right now.

It’s February, a famously tough month for people in a normal year. It’s gray, the cold drags on, the holidays are over. This year, we’re 11 months into a pandemic. People keep on getting Covid. I had a work call yesterday with someone who lost her father and grandfather. Meanwhile, I’m starting to see Facebook acquaintances posting photos of large-group gatherings of people posing as if times were normal, aka no masks, no distance. A birthday, a memorial service, sitting around tables in a restaurant eating, big, unabashed smiles. I can’t fathom this. I’m starting to experiment with double-masking.

We have a new president (omg I couldn’t believe how much crying I did on inauguration day), now we’re flailing around trying to get relief to people so desperate for it and the Rs are exposing themselves as the truly hideous people they always were. It’s been a relief not to hear about that other horrible guy who moved to Florida but indeed he was simply the one who gave them permission so now we’ll see the fallout. Hopefully the relief will come, the vaccines will make their way to those who need it most.

We’re chugging along. My own weird physical symptom of longtime quarantine, winter, and stress is that I somehow displaced a rib without any obvious injury… I was sitting down to read to my kids at bedtime when I felt a pinch in the center of my back, which graduated along my side with muscle spasms and acute pain for 10 days before I got to a chiropractor. Three weeks and 3 chiro visits later, it’s…the same. Is this aging? Does it simply take forever to heal an intercostal muscle tear? Am I a medical mystery? I live on ibuprofen every six hours and I’m not exercising at all. The whole thing is very unsatisfying.

E’s school started in-person hybrid classes yesterday and I opted to keep him home. The school re-opening debate is so contentious in all respects (I can hardly stomach the threads in mom groups on this) but I’m glad that here in our village we were given options. We could opt to go or stay home. Yesterday morning, when I peered into his iPad to see how many kids were in the classroom, I saw only four–and I felt thrilled for his teacher!

At this point, it’s only in-person 8am-12pm then they come home to do 1-3, kids Zoom from their desks, and the teachers aren’t vaccinated yet. There may be a new plan starting March 1 so we’re hanging tight to see. If I can avoid kid pickups at noon AND 3pm, my work day will be better off. Also, E is doing fine at home. Yesterday he surprised me by adding 7 + 7 + 7 etc. all the way up to 84. He’s starting to get engrossed in reading about things like frogs and interrupts me during work calls to announce cool facts. He hit his goal of being a “Seesaw Rockstar” 5 days in a row so I ordered him a Robot Dog ($12 from Walmart)–he’s very motivated by a reward system like this. He’s angling for the next one. He sort of wants to go back to school but has expressed that he will really miss watching YouTube Kids during all the breaks. Yep.

C is suddenly a big girl. She sleeps like a real kid now (aka deeply and through the whole night until after 7). When she wakes up, she gets herself dressed and comes out looking like this, making my heart explode with pride:

The other night at dinner, she started telling us about a new boy in her class at preschool named “Mylove.” Now, it’s possible that that’s his name. But my guess is that that’s what the teacher calls him (“Put your boots on, my love”) and how cute is that?? She also said that he’s “thirty-eight years old” so who knows.

These are precarious times for so many people. We have to try to notice when our stress starts to send us messages through our bodies (chronic pain, sleep issues, mood swings) and take time for ourselves. I’m not doing a good job at this even though I know the power of breathing exercises, meditation, gratitude journaling, stretching…

At least try to drink enough water, friends. And know that you are loved.