Two Years Ago
2 years ago I wrote the following reflection about getting through the pandemic as a family. The experience was mostly not pretty. Today I reflect on how long it’s been (730 days) but how far we seem not yet to have gone. Sure, some things have shifted, altered, transitioned but we still seem to be in a bit of a holding pattern – waiting with baited breath for the other shoe to drop. I wonder if this is the reality from now on – this waiting for worse to come. I pride myself on being (often delusional) optimistic and it seems harder to be such now in the wake of the last few years.
Stuck in a Space of Scarcity and Fear
We’ve changed physically – there are more grays for the parents and more height for the kids but emotionally and mentally I think we’re still a bit stuck, possibly in a space of scarcity and fear. Our actions, that is to say our vices, betray our concerns and invigorate our circumstances. We each agree that life could be easier, smoother, better, less expensive if we could deny our unhealthy obsessions and yet, here we are, 2 years later still riding the tumultuous waves of less than enviable habits and behaviors.
Granting Space and Grace
I have confidence we’ll figure it out but today I am granting myself – and this family unit of mine – the space and grace to continue to sit with and through the suffering. This too, I know, shall pass. I hope.
May 28, 2001: Reflections on the Pandemic
Silver Linings and Hardships
I’m so happy so many of you have had positive things to say about this school year and while I believe in silver linings and I believe you get what you look for, I’ll be the first and loudest to say that the last 14 months have been hard for us.
Bumpy Roads and Rocky Terrain
New schools for both kids with all new protocols and it was bumpy – not fun, stomach dropping bumps like the kind you might find on a stretch of desert road but like the nauseating, fear-laced kind you find 4 wheeling through rocky terrain without a seatbelt (while maybe holding a baby).
Reaching for Workability
In addition to the school situation, pandemic life raged on around us as we found ourselves constantly reaching, grasping at some semblance of workability. The kids’ class zooms were attended from their beds; personal hygiene took a hit; assignments were missed; parenting was cumbersome and often poor; tensions were high.
Sleep Deprivation and Parenting Challenges
Will would wake at 4 for work and the kids were just falling asleep maybe an hour prior. We were like barely talking zombies…stumbling through the world half conscious. We learned about our kids through their social media posts (on the accounts we know about anyway). We attempted half-hearted conversations to understand each other better and failed.
Less Than Optimal Habits
We developed less than optimal habits. Time and again, we ran out of our grocery budget halfway through its cycle – Uber eating or door dashing food instead of braving the grocery store. We binged on Amazon and amassed an embarrassing amount of cardboard. We would go hard trying to keep up with each week’s new, unusual schedule for months at home and then take a mini break in another city for a night or two and then return to the unmanageable, unworkable pace of life at home.
EKP experienced growth in unprecedented ways, and yet life at home was a cluster of unbelievable obstacles. It seemed our lives were at full throttle but where were we going?
Planning to Lay Rest and Intense Family Toll
As we slowly begin to emerge from the chaos that was this past 14 months or so, I am not yet hopeful. I am exhausted. I feel alone. I am filled with sadness. I understand these feelings are finite but nonetheless, I am feeling them. Will’s father passed over a year ago and we are planning to commemorate his life and finally lay him to rest over the summer. Will’s Dad is the first of our parents to pass, and the toll death takes on a family is intense. Memories, nostalgia, and remorse bubble into seemingly unrelated conversations, and suddenly discussions become dark and possibly all too relevant.
Damage and Healing Process
So while I am super proud of my family for getting through the last 14 months, I’m not going to pretend that there’s been no damage. It will be several months, maybe even years, until we heal. Yes, we’re resilient; yes, we’re still standing but no, we are not yet feeling the relief, the jubilation, or the hope that comes with an event’s great finale.