Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Chasing Butterflies

Disclaimer: My love for my family is something fierce. That is not in question as I write this. My skills to make it through the many months facing us all together at home, is. We have done pretty well so far. We have had a few tricky times, completing second grade was no small feat for my son and me. As a team, we did it, but it took a strain on our relationship and we didn't like each other as much during that time. That was heartbreaking. I am trying to take one day at a time, but learning that school in the fall will be virtual once again, makes me start thinking about the coming year. It is the right thing to do now and I wouldn't feel comfortable sending them if it did open, but it is hard for me to imagine the daily battles we had at home without getting nauseous. There is circle spinning I am doing at home that is starting to drive me bonkers. I can't seem to be very productive without getting distracted by everything around me. My kids, my husband, the dishes, the dust, the clutter, the stuff. I just keep trying to stay on top of it and as soon as I finish, more appears. It is an old story, but I am finding it impossible to stop myself. I recently sat down with the kids for a minute while they were watching "The Simpsons" movie. The family was fleeing their home when it was under attack. With seconds to get out, Marge runs back in to get the video of their wedding-- she grabs the video and starts to run out, but notices a dirty dish in the sink. She has to stop to wash it before running out. Never before have I been so validated by The Simpsons.

There is so much time now. I have nowhere I have to be and yet tasks seem to take me so much longer now.  I have way more distractions now. Case in point, as I try to write this, both kids have sealed their mouth with packing tape, decorated the tape, and then blew out to make their faces look like big bubbles. This is not a bad thing I suppose, they are quiet because their mouths are sealed and this tape has kept them busy for quite some time now. The only issue is they are coming up to me, making me laugh, or making me take pictures of them every few minutes. I am also constantly making them food, and then cleaning up again. They say they are "so hungry" but I really don't know how they survive on how little they both eat. I have filled more days than I would have liked just being distracted alone. I am missing focus, clarity, and inner peace a bit. I am taking care of myself as best as I can physically and mentally, but man oh man, we are living in such strange times these days. I am a pretty positive person, and I have been able to keep my spirits up through ~ mostly. At around five or six p.m. I get a bit blue. Another day is ending, and I am bone tired from not doing much, and I still have to make dinner. I am constantly checking in to see that my household is ok. When the kids disappear upstairs for a while, it isn't always a great sign. They have been arguing more than usual lately, and there has been a lot more mood around here.

Yesterday, we hadn't really gotten out of the house much. The day before was glorious and we spent the whole day out. We took our dog to the beach, we surfed, we boogie boarded, we relaxed and we were refreshed. The next day we stayed inside until we all got too much cabin fever and piled in the car to nowhere in particular. Transitioning from one activity to another hasn't been easy lately and when we parked downtown to walk around, the kids said they didn't want to get out of the car. At first, it was funny and cute. Their solidarity was admirable, but then it got annoying and then my husband and I got mad. Finally, after what seemed like an explosion of anger from all four of us, we started to walk around together. I don't think, I am so good at transitioning either, and couldn't shake my anger. My husband said something at the wrong time, in the wrong way when I was so sensitive and I couldn't keep it together anymore. Never in our relationship have we argued in the middle of the street and certainly not in front of our kids out in public. We weren't screaming, but to us, we may as well have been naked. We then got even more upset with ourselves and each other for even arguing, but we didn't quite know how to let up either. I had that heavy, ugly kind of anger and I realize now that there are so many things to be angry about, but your loved ones take the brunt of your seething sometimes. I don't have the ability to handle the feelings I didn't even know existed in me. All around the world people are dealing with the same issues of navigating a more limited lifestyle, feeling the responsibility of keeping themselves and loved ones safe from illness. For the first time in history, everyone is having to deal with the same concerns. While we are all navigating this at the same time, we are all having to do it so separately. So alone.

When our dog, Hazel needs a walk, I jump at the chance to take her. Getting outside for a bit breaks up the monotony and gives me a bit of quiet that I so badly crave. She is still a puppy and will run with me as fast as I want to go. I don't know why I pick up my pace so often when I finally have time to myself but it helps that she loves to run. No matter how fast we are going through, she always stops near an area that has milkweed growing. She sits and waits for the shadows of butterflies and whips me around chasing after them on the ground. I am not sure if she knows they are just shadows, but it doesn't deter her from trying to jump on top of each shadow she chases. I let her do this for a long time, it doesn't get old, and time seems to stand still, which seems to be just what I need. I miss being productive, my identity has definitely been morphed into more of a stay at home mom these days. I was just branching out of that a bit when this all went down. It is not a huge sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. I may not get to do that social justice project I was working on if I can't be social, but I will keep trying. Just like Hazel, she may never get one of those shadows, but she won't give up trying. Neither will I.

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