If you had told me back in late 2019 that all the places I loved would burn that year while a pandemic raged, I would have thought you were mad. And yet, here we are.
Two years later and we’ve gone through months of smoke, catastrophic hail, two lockdowns, and now, the slow march towards a life where covid is endemic. Whatever future we might venture to predict at this moment is like a walk in the Tule fog of my youth — a blanket of white obscuring the flashing red Christmas lights on my grandparents’ house from the driveway. Not ominous, quite, but unsettling.
It’s been a long lockdown. Three months of home school, no childcare, and work intermingling with online food orders, forgotten masks, and yet another trip to the pine forest when it all became too much. And now? My oldest goes back to school on Monday. On one hand, I can’t wait. On the other hand, I’m not quite ready. These last three months were a challenge, yes, but it’s amazing how even desired change can be terrifying. I am so, so tired. But I seem to have grown accustomed to the madness.
What will I miss? Cheeky grins, cuddles, seeing my eldest learn to ride a bike without stabilizers and my youngest learn to walk, delivering presents for friends, and letting the boundaries between the many boxes of my life dissolve into one beautiful mess. Knowing my children were going to be ok. Breathing in the fresh air at the start of spring, with or without a mask. Skipping meetings for a run. Freshly baked chocolate cake at midday and homemade marshmallows in hot chocolate.
Don’t get me wrong: I will be so, so glad to see my children’s teachers again. I am literally counting the hours. But I am also doing my absolute best to enjoy the time that’s left.
Featured image is by Liz Williams – Acrylic on paper