I walked Sophia, and watched kids skateboard up a plank in the middle of Church Street.
I saw a sign on a sidewalk that offered a virtual hug and all the love in the world in electric pink and blue pastels.
I spoke to a woman for ten minutes, through masks, ten feet apart, about how our dogs both like to bark through the fence.
I saw some friends and ate a veggie burger outside on a deck while we watched a bird feeder.
I cooked dinner, danced, drank water, bought wine.
I don’t think Thoreau would agree that I have pared life down to essentials.
But I am discovering my own essentials.
Before bed, I’ll look at the moon, kiss my kids, and scratch Sophie’s belly until she wheezes.
I’m lucky they are all within about five feet from where I sit, except the moon and the liquor store.
Stay strong.
Julie

Waves of grief pass thru me at the strangest times- driving the car, walking the dog, cooking a meal- during mundane day to day activities that are as familiar as the freckly on my thigh, or the sound of my mom’s voice.

What I am grieving?

I’m not a traveller, so I can’t say I miss getting on a plane. I’d like to get on a plane, but that can’t be it.
I don’t go to many parties, just enough so that when I’m invited, I usually say yes, and try to bring something nice so I’ll be invited again. But it’s April, not exactly party season, and there’s Zoom. I can drink what I like to drink, in my living room, with my friends, in their living rooms. It’s not ideal, but…
I love my job and I’m working from home.
I’ve probably seen more live music online than I have in the past five years.
There is my deep and abiding appreciation for food other people make, and ordering takeout is considered community service, so I’m doing my part.

I miss anticipation.

I miss going thru Monday knowing I had plans to meet Maggie for CardioBoxing and cocktails on Wednesday night, preparing for high school students to tour the campus at QC, and trying on clothes the night before, in an effort to be relatable, professional, and weather appropriate.

I miss checking the menu on High School lunch on Tuesday, and deciding to skip out of the office on Thursday for an hour to eat chicken or meatballs.

I miss helping Katy get ready for a recital, and looking forward to seeing friends I only see at recitals, school plays, football games, or the Fruit Center.

All I look forward to now is this being over.

There is no date.

No one knows what over will look like.

I haven’t been able to tap into eager anticipation for some vague time in the distant future.

Tonight, before I go to bed, and after I walk the dog, I’m going to plan something for tomorrow.

I haven’t figured out what, but it will have to be more significant than making bread or trying a new workout online.

I’d love suggestions.

I need to look forward to more than coffee in the morning, and getting thru another day.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

Love,

Julie

Day 2
Breakfast
Morning meditation w Kate. Sophie decided to sleep thru it.
Katy did homework.
Lunch.
Homework.
I scrolled Facebook and rearranged the furniture so I’d have room to exercise. I tried hip hop cardio, a little dance fit, and a tiny tabata.
I scrolled on Facebook more, read a book, wiped surfaces, washed my hands, woke the dog.
Made oatmeal peanut butter snacks, read the paper, read a book.
Went on two hikes, picked up prescriptions at cvs, cauliflower at stop and shop, made dinner, made cookies, made calls, cleaned the kitchen, again, read a very long poem recommended by a friend, and
now, I’m sprawled on the sofa.
I’m not going to make coffee for the morning.
It snowed this morning.
We meditated together in the living room. The pellet stove was on; it was cold. Mostly, Katy and I were quiet this morning.
When it was over, she read out loud the poem recommended by Steve Dooner, and I fell in love with her voice and her delivery of the words, even those she mispronounced, but had no idea what the poem about, except it was sad and beautiful.
When Katy went upstairs tonight, we agreed that for a time, she will only walk outside with me and Sophie.
Michael the cat may follow, but he’s getting tired and stays close to the stove, mostly.
She can use her phone a little later to FaceTime her friends.
Katy is sad and beautiful, tonight, day 2 done.

Since school started, my world has been gobbled by too much stuff. That’s always been the case, or at it’s always been the case since I started writing on Word press. But this season, there were two new additions that have left me little room to breathe, much less ruminate between breathes and create entire meaningful sentences to those outside my immediate family. (My immediate family might tell you that I don’t create meaningful sentences for them either.)
I’ve become, um, hooked on yoga. It’s not the same as hooked on Phonics, or hooked on drugs, or even the off and on addiction to caffeine I’ve had since I was twelve. I joined a gym right next to my house. There are all different kinds of yoga classes offered right before work, just after I drop Katy for swim team, classes in the pre dinner hour, (while it roasts, I bake in warm yoga at 95 degrees.)

I even bought a mat. Every time I enter the room, filled with all of these beautiful, long limbed, gumbyesque women, all ages, shapes, ethnicities, I find a spot in the middle of them. I roll out my mat, I go the closet for a block and a strap, I sip water from the fountain, I run to the ladies room to pee, and then I find my way back. I find my way back in a sea of gumbyesque long limbed rainbow of x chromosomes, and there is always room left in their midst. Of course, there is always room left. Like I said, I reserve a spot, as soon as I drop my mat.
I am learning from yoga. I’ve only been going a little more than a month, so I’m probably not qualified to share it with you, but let me just say, it’s a good place to find myself six times a week. When I am in the room, on an island of blue fabric, listening to my own breath, matching my breath to everyone else’s, absorbing the teacher’s measured instructions, and reminders, and gentle suggestions, I am an island. I choose what to feel, how to move, what to hear, how to place my body, and then how to move my body. The beginning of a love affair with yoga is selfish, it requires for me to listen hardest to what I am telling myself and it doesn’t lend itself to quick posts on facebook, or ruminations on word press.
And that has been the perfect place for me to be right now in the midst of the other addition to this little life of mine. My son is now thirteen. Since school started, since the first hairs sprouted on his upper lip, and so far, I’m the only one that’s seen them, things have gotten complicated. The other day, I mentioned a song to him. It was by eminem, a song he’d written about missing Dr. Dre. For those of you not familiar with the midwestern rapper, Mr. Em wasn’t bemoaning a missed appointment at the health clinic.

Regardless, my son, my son who once declared I was the coolest mom ever just for knowing how to spell me Em’s name, looked at me with utmost scorn.
“Mom, that songs been out since, like, 2004. You call yourself an eminem fan?”

No, I never called myself an eminem fan. I like some of his music and I know how to spell his name. For the record.

Next day, he called me on the phone. I was on my way home from driving Katy to swim team, after working out, after working. I was hungry. And he said the words:
“Mom, dinners on the table.”
Dinner was on the table. Colin had reheated the turkey taco meat from the night before. He had sliced a tomato in half and put a head of lettuce in a bowl. He had heated some taco shells he found behind the microwave for forty minutes in the oven until they were as solid as a cookie sheet.

I ate the turkey tacos. And then I ate the pizza that my friend brought over out of the blue. Unsolicited. I sort of swear.

He is the coolest son ever. He is capable of making me a card that would make a dead mom weep, (get that hip reference to the rolling stones. Probably not. I guess Colin’s right. I try too hard.)

Things are complicated right now. I go to yoga, where I’m just starting to figure out where my butt should be in downward dog, and have just accepted I’m probably never going to be able to hold my body up on my elbows.

I come home to my son. One minute, he smiles and I swoon. Before the minutes over, he tells me he was smiling because his friend on the phone just offered him the chance to by a used pair of sneakers for only $125 dollars, “I mean, mom, why would I smile at you. You gave me crap when I MADE YOU DINNER! I mean, it might take time before I recover from that…” And he’s joking with me again, and smiling. Nope, that smile was for his sister. She just said she would do the art work on the front of his book report.

Sometimes I go to yoga twice a day.