Sarah: It’s a beautiful, sunny afternoon following yesterday’s snow. Our strawberries are in full bloom. With Charlie fully vaccinated and me mustering through the side effects of my second shot, I’m starting to imagine emergence. Starting to open our tiny, isolated pods of interaction while trying my best to keep up with the latest news on risks to unvaccinated children. The word “anxious” fits well here – simultaneously eager and unnerved.
We’ve both been working from home for over a year now while raising a three-now-four-year-old in shifts, perhaps better described as “fits and starts.” I start Zoom meetings with notifications that I’m on-call for childcare, that he’s potty training, and half-truths that I’ll still be listening if I shut off my camera.
We’ve both been caregiving for vulnerable family members too, navigating numerous caregiver challenges made all the more difficult by Covid-precautions.
We take turns holding it together. We all need time to fall apart.
I’ve been spending more time outside, alone and with family. When local playgrounds were closed, I sought out a swing set, almost desperately. Anything to burn off steam. Of all things, Jayne pretends his swing is a grocery cart. We plan imaginary meals, write imaginary lists, and he pretends to shop for ingredients as he swings. He has not been inside a grocery store since March 2020. Maybe that will change soon. Maybe soon we can plan a feast.
Charlie: My reaction to quarantine was to dive headlong into change.
I set an alarm every day for 5:00 am, started running, and took up beekeeping. I built a machine to mine cryptocurrencies, restored a mountain bike, made two websites, two desks, and enrolled in a few online courses.
I’ve filled every minute and every day with more and more. I’m with my family every waking hour but I’m still distant, distracted, and fretting about the pandemic and all of this social turmoil. I want to be better and I have to believe that the rest of the world does too.