Saturday, April 18, 2020

Slow unraveling

This morning I sat morosely at the kitchen table with my coffee and when Ryan came over to ask what I wanted to do today said "Go to a swim meet.  Go to Central Market for a sangria and watch the kids play until it's dark.  Go to church.  Hug someone."  And then I walked back upstairs and got back in my bed.  So quarantine is going well. I miss my people, friends. I am spending more time than ever talking to people on various digital platforms, but I really just need to be in the same space as people. I miss incidental conversations with my work friends. I miss chatting with strangers at the grocery store. I miss physically being in my church. After this INSANE school year and all the things that have happened, I was really clinging onto my routine. And now it's gone. I have the role of "encourager" in a couple of areas of my life right now, not least of which is the kids and their online education. It is a role I enjoy and feel like I am reasonably good at, even now, but I feel like I need my own encourager. Ryan is a good encourager. But I have built a solid network of people I find encouraging and made sure I checked in with them often. And now I can't do that. I really need to look another person in the eye. Hug someone. Have a conversation that does not require a calendar invite. Have someone who gets it squeeze my hand and tell me to have a good week. It seems like such a small thing that could easily be replicated via video chat, but I am not finding that to be the case. Being an adult with healthy social skills and boundaries is hard when you just want to say "can you please pat my hair and tell me I'm going to make it through this?"

Yesterday we finished home school for the week at 2:30, so I loaded everyone up in the car and we drove to a park to go on a socially distanced hike with our masks on.  As I told a friend later, I think that will be one of those experiences that the kids remember fondly and I remember as a stressful, labor intensive, bickerfest.  They fought in the car, groused about masks, argued about which trail to take, my mask kept falling off, my glasses were so fogged up I finally just took them off, which meant I was holding my glasses in one hand and phone in the other (no pockets) and trying to keep my mask on with no free hands and blindly trying to keep four grouchy children together in the woods.  When I was able to put my glasses on, and when they were not foggy, it was quite pretty, and I could almost see that we were having fun.


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We stopped in our little downtown to pick up some extra good pizzas on the way home and the kids watched Arthur in the car while I waited in line. We ate good pizza while they had a Sponge Bob marathon and I dug into a book I bought twenty years ago and used to read at least once a year. I love rereading books that I loved during a different part of my life and this one has been excellent. I remember how challenging it felt then, and now it is just as inspiring, but in a deeper, knowing way since it is a story of sisterhood and mothering, things I have experienced since my first reading when I was NINETEEN. The friend who suggested I reread it encouraged me to read it because I had expressed to her how lost I was feeling without my community. She said she loved the idea of the Red Tent in the book, how during times of difficulty, the women had the Red Tent, this place of privacy and community and bonding. I have something similar in a group text right now, but what I really want is to SIT BY these people, together, in one place.

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In lighter news, I had been putting off getting a haircut for about six months before we got locked down and now that I'm not blowing my hair out and at least making an attempt at making it look nice every day I got so sick of it I asked Ryan to give me a haircut. He tried to get out of it but I finally convinced him by threatening to do it myself. I sat on the kitchen island with a glass of wine on a group video chat with some friends while he carefully trimmed my hair, occasionally referring to a YouTube video of a woman cutting a CHILD'S hair. He was super nervous but as I told him, I do not care what it looks like, I just wanted it to STOP TOUCHING MY NECK. I actually am really happy with it and am wondering why I usually spend a hundred bucks for a haircut (it's because they give you wine and a head massage).

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Mary fell off her bike the other day and James ran to get her a popsicle and when he couldn't find any, made them both ice cream sundaes.

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James and Mary think it's pretty great to be quarantined with their best friends.

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He went with a new look for his class Zoom on Friday.

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Ryan and I have big plans to TV it out today while both of us catch up on some work. There are ELEVEN DAYS left in my semester, friends. Eleven days left in my academic career. Less than two weeks until the Great Jumping Off Point. I have very mixed feelings about this reality. Am I glad to be done with this particular job at this particular institution? Am I thrilled about the next step? Am I sad about leaving academics? Am I SUPER NERVOUS about it finally all being here and no longer an abstraction? All yes! As I said before, being an adult with healthy social skills and boundaries is hard when you just want to say "can you please pat my hair and tell me I'm going to make it through this?"

3 comments:

candy masters said...

Yes, severe hug withdrawal at this end too. I'm here squeezing my own hand and intuiting it to you RIGHT NOW! Now go eat a snack like broccoli! Love you Becca xxoo ❤️

Chiconky said...

Sending you so much love. It’s a really weird, difficult time even without normal, run of the mill stressors like career changes. I’m still going to work, but I miss not being anxious and hyper aware of how far apart people are. The Red Tent is one of my favorites and such a good idea for a re-grounding book.

I can’t help with much, but I can help with the mask fog. If you thread a little wire into the nose part so you can mold it, you can direct the air down instead of up. Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you are struggling. I miss people and am ambivalent about video chatting. I love connecting with people, and even some old friends. But it also stresses me out because when I look at their eyes, I'm not looking at the camera and when I look at the camera I can't see them.

But, I have something to say that might help you!! I am a glasses wearer too, and I have been so annoyed by the fogging problem. Google told me that folding a Kleenex over the bridge of my nose and then putting the mask on helps because the tissue absorbs some/most of the moisture in your exhaled air. I rocked a tissue while hunting for food today (which is what I insist on calling grocery shopping now), and it worked really well!! Give it a try!!

Google also told me that having a mask with a wire bend at the nose helps because then it doesn't let as much air come up by your nose. I'm going to try that when I sew us more masks (waiting on a fabric order to arrive).