sustaining grace

Today is December 1, 2020. A Tuesday. Our family has been living in a hotel for the past 50 days, and honestly, we don’t have an end in sight. We had water damage at our house, which destroyed our kitchen. Then our insurance company ignored us for weeks.

Writing this is not a plea for sympathy; rather, it’s a song of gratitude. If you’d have told me on October 12, the day we had to move into this hotel, that’s we’d be here for over 50 days, working and doing school and everything, while in quarantine, I don’t know if I could have mustered my faculties to actually take it on.

If you would have told me on March 13, 2020, that we’d still be in quarantine in December, that the COVID cases were, in fact higher, in December than any other time of the year, I don’t know how I’d be able to wake up the next morning. And make breakfast. And clean it up. And get to work and take care of my people and repeat.

But we didn’t know. We never know, do we? No day is guaranteed. This year has pulled back the veil, and honestly, I don’t know if it will ever go back. Nor do I necessarily want it to, at least not in the same way it was.

So thank you for keeping me in the dark on these things, whoever is in charge up there. I think it is in my best interest. And I’ll keep trying.

There’s a lot to be grateful for. Beautiful, precious family, friends, community, a great job, and, knock on every piece of wood around, good health. I hope the same and more for you, reader.

This photo is from last year, of my daughter, December 2019. You know the thing I miss most about being home right now? Hearing my son play the piano. Here’s to homecoming, very soon.

parenthood: it gets easier

When my kids were little, maybe a couple months and 2 years old, I would sit while I nursed late into the night and scroll through the internet searching for solace. How many parents are in a similar scene, rocking or feeding tiny humans, their exhausted faces illuminated by the light of their phones; the only connection to the outside world and maybe, possibly some connection with someone else to let them know they are not alone?

At that time I regularly googled and texted my friends asking, “does parenting get easier?” begging the world wide universe to give me a sliver of hope for my future, which was feeling fairly difficult at the time. Most days I was home alone with the kids, and incidents that seem small and hilarious now left me empty. Anyone who has cared for tiny people knows – it can be tedious, tiring, and also pretty wonderful.

One blog I found gave me great hope. I can’t find it now though, and that’s why I wanted to write to you here, in hopes of passing that hope along to you. The author of the blog, a mother of several kids, wrote about taking care of her young family. She talked about nursing a baby while her toddler climbed all over her, feeling bedraggled and insane. What she said, though, as her kids grew, was that the actual physical act of parenting got much easier as time went on. She slept through the night. The kids became more independent. Her hands gradually were freed and her body became her own again. This may all sound obvious – of course this is what happens. But when I was in the middle of it, I couldn’t help feeling like it was my forever.

Most exciting, to me, was that she said parenting got easier, but never less important.

So if you’re reading this late at night, awake with a tiny person attached to your body, wondering if you might ever feel close to normal again, I’m here to tell you yes.

My kids sleep through the night most nights.
They can get themselves snacks.
I no longer have to buckle them into carseats.
They can ride bikes.
It’s very rare that I get bodily fluids on my clothes.
Wiping is not my primary occupation.
Sometimes I look up and notice that nobody has needed me for many minutes.

Keep going, my sweet parent and caregiver friends. There are so many seasons to life, and this too shall pass. And we might even miss it, probably. Know that I’m thinking of you.

love in the time of quarantine

Well, hello there. It’s been a while. How are you doing? How do we even begin to talk about these times?

I began this post at the beginning of quarantine, back in March. Who would have thought.

It’s been a season of life in which I try to focus more on just being, focus more on what is happening directly in front of me, giving attention to the task at hand, to the person I’m with. Less of productivity, at least in a public sense, less show and tell, less comparison, less of pretty much everything. And now, in the time of our collective quarantine, those things shrink even more noticeably. Our daily footsteps, if we could see the path, wind down the hallway, on and off couches, around the yard within our fence, to the porch to check the mail, and sometimes, when the weather is nice, a familiar walk on our neighborhood sidewalks.

It’s been weeks, months since we’ve gone downtown (which is 5 minutes from our house). It’s been weeks since I’ve touched anyone outside of my immediate family. You can relate, I’m sure.

We attempt to work from home. We will attempt to help our kids do their virtual schoolwork, again. We attempt to clean and feed ourselves. We video conference. We try to push projects forward. We make popsicles, eat them, and repeat. We have piano lessons with a teacher we love, whom we have not met in person. We cultivate very satisfying tshirt tan lines. We try to rest, fail, try again. We seek solace, we seek normalcy in an exceptional situation. We read the news. We try not to read the news. We check in with our friends. We worry about our loved ones, especially the ones suffering from coronavirus. We send prayers. We don’t know what else to do.

There are people doing huge, vital, amazing things to help people right now (and always). People who still have to go to work everyday. People caring for those who are sick. People delivering food, and supplies, and books. People still collecting our trash, filling our prescriptions, answering our emails and phone calls. Thank you thank you thank you.