I spent the last decade fully bought into the self development world and dabbling in spirituality, mindfulness, and now neuroscience. I am the one with the growth mindset, the perspective, the flowery words and the lilting, leading tone to make you believe in something within as well as something bigger than you. I still believe it. Ish.
“Pandemic,” as my friends are now referring to it, has added an edge to my grace, a darkness to my dry humor, and heart palpitations for added measure. This was the year my startup was to find investors. The year my weird little blended family was going to click into place. This was the year that all the manifesting I did was going to bloom and show itself.
Instead I write this in the robe I slept in and next to an unlit Christmas tree I put up way too early in the hopes I could usher in the spirit of joy. My toxic positivity was going to save us with peppermint-spiked everything and The Grinch and Home Alone on repeat. I jingle jangled all over the living room almost exactly a week before my boyfriend’s daughter showed her first mild signs of COVID. By the time my boyfriend was knocked out on the couch, feverish and covered with a blanket like Jesus in the shroud of Turin, I knew we were in trouble.
We did the things we were supposed to do. We separated everyone, notified the exes and anyone we could’ve exposed. Everyone got tested. Up the nose, tears, with pleading, “I’m so scared,” squeezed hands and the RN’s sigh, “I really hate testing children.” She stopped for a moment and locked eyes with me over Liv’s sobs. It was a glimpse of her exhaustion, her humanity and a defeated moment where we both nodded, understanding what wasn’t being said.
The positives, as I’ve now lovingly named them, are isolated upstairs with all the devices, arts & crafts, Chloroseptic, pain relievers, and fluids their little hearts could desire. In rapid succession our co-parents have made care package deliveries for both children because we are the modern #coparentinginapandemicgoals family. All the women in this village agree we like each other more than the men most of the time and that we really should have our own reality show.
My daughter and I – the negatives – wait. For what, we haven’t figured out yet. Are we waiting for the first signs of illness, the health of our loved ones, the aliens that would not even be outlandish for 2020 at this point?
When we are not waiting I deliver meals and meds to closed doors and clean like I alone will uncover the physical veil between us and the matrix. My daughter has named my delivery service, “Momazon,” and my house is run like a Navy Destroyer ship. She is currently creating a comic book (from the art supplies dad just dropped off) where COVarty, the villain, is being beaten by the hero of this story, “Momazon,” complete with the robe, “that hair” as she refers to it, and fluffy Cheetah slippers.
There are roll call texts in the morning, instructions for movement, bathing, laundry, trash pick up, lunch, snack and dinner Momazon deliveries, and lots and lots of FaceTime calls. Some between my boyfriend and I as we confirm symptoms and discuss what he will eat with a throat on fire. The evening FaceTime call has taken place of our family evening prayers.
There are days when it is really funny. When my boyfriend peeks his head out of his lair, fully masked, and says, “I am an independent man. You don’t control me. I do what I want. I go where I want to go,” and then turns and retreats to where I’ve banished him to cough and sputter until he gets his next charge of energy.
There are days when it is really hard. When trying to serve, care for and keep myself and my daughter healthy feels overwhelming. When the positives really want to move and the boredom and malaise makes them mopey. When I have to tell a ten year old child she has to stay isolated even though she feels much better than she did when this unholy disease found its way into our lives. When I just want to find a time machine or know the ending to this particular story.
A very close friend called, “Tell me. The real.” I laughed, “I’m mad. I have done everything to keep this God-forsaken virus out of my house and it is in here with its spikes and its bullshit infesting my home and my people and I’m fucking angry.”
He said that was a good place to be.
Optimism is great when it serves you, but this is not a space where I’m about to share lessons learned. No, I want to tell you that this is not my favorite situation. Maybe in two years we’ll have lessons learned and life will be so good we can sit within the glow of toxic positivity once again, like naive grifters selling themselves on their own grass instead of the green on the other side. Maybe we won’t have to do that because we’ll have seen both sides and we’ll land in the middle, fully embodying our growth and the traits that make us survivors. Maybe “Pandemic” is what bridges us from our extremes and our need to box ourselves in and create ways to judge our very humanness.
I am riddled with anxiety and panic attacks as I hear the positives coughing. I forced my boyfriend to change the subject when he started the “handling affairs” convo and wanted to make sure I knew how to get in touch with his family. I feel bad/sorrowful/apologetic that I’m caring for two girls who deserve to be playing with their friends, hugging their other parents and siblings. I apologized to my daughter last night. I told her that I’m supposed to keep her safe. It is my biggest charge as her mom and I feel like I’ve failed her… as we wait… for what we still don’t know. She wouldn’t accept my apology. She said there was no need for it, because “you are the best mom ever.”
I don’t know what tomorrow brings.
I don’t know much of anything and that is becoming the space I now hold and hold well. Just being. Just making the next best decision. Just feeding people because it is the thing I can do. It is the only thing I can control. The kitchen and my iPhone have become my command deck and I promise you everyone feels safer, calmer and more at ease because I act like I know what I’m doing and I’m really good at telling people what to do. #momlife
Right this second I know that I made the breakfast Momazon deliveries and everyone is comfortable.
I know that I will serve pineapple as a lunchtime side for two of the people in the house, because the third only likes things that are “4% sour.” She’ll get strawberries.
I know that I am a really good mom.
I know that I lucked out in the co-parent lottery with an entire group of people across multiple homes who all act like we share DNA.
I know there are no certainties, and that this storyline has been far worse for so many other people. I know that I “should” sit in gratitude for all we have and yea, yea, yea, I promise we’re doing that too.
I also know that this is real, there are no answers or magic 8 balls, control freaks are losing their shit, and maybe that is the lesson we weren’t ready for in 2020.
My dear friend, who agreed that my anger was righteous, asked me what I saw on the other side of this situation, and for us in particular. I immediately saw an image of small green shoots, new growth, new perspectives. I’m holding on to that image. It may not be profound, but it is hopeful, and we could all use a little hope right now. Even if it is the size of a fledgling sprout.
Please stay safe out there. You have no idea how one small decision you make for your own comfort could affect an entire family or community. This. Is. Not. Fun. Nor do I want it for your family.
Now, how do I start a Gofundme for the vacation to Hawaii when this is all over…..
Originally posted at loveisviral.com