At 7 pm, I was curled on a recliner watching a new show on Netflix with Kate.

By 8, I’ll be working out, Sophie watching from the sofa. When the music gets loud, she goes outside. I hope the rain holds off.

Sofie is still confused by all the activity in the living room, and wishes we would eliminate this part of our new daily routine.

At 9, I might be on zoom with friends, trying to figure about what I can add to the conversation- does anyone really need to know about my chicken meatballs?, on the phone with family, (who actually might like to hear about the damned meatballs,) or talking about payment plans with Sheldon.

This lonely feeling comes and goes, like an ice cream craving, or bliss during the drive to work on a beautiful Monday morning.
I am not alone. I have family here, and a touchscreen away, friends send texts, call, and we promise to see each other soon. Then there is a quiet moment, when we wonder how long it will really be. It’s not uncomfortable, anymore, it’s the way things are.

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the world. Maybe it’s just the way I need to be right now.

If you’re feeling lonely too, you have company.

Stay strong, and amazing.

Love,
Julie

Day Thirty Six

April 19, 2020

 
Tonight, I am grateful the kitchen is clean, and there are leftovers in the fridge, tucked inside Tupperware. The dishwasher works and is working, and I’m done with food for the day. Deciding what to eat, looking for basil, or finding the hidden parmesan, taking into account what everyone else wants to eat, cooking, plating, remembering to put Frank’s Hot Sauce by Katy’s plate, and eating.
 
I’m exhausted.
 
Tonight, I am grateful that Sophie is waiting by the door. Katy is upstairs putting on pants. The snow has melted, and the night air felt good on my skin when I stepped outside.
 
Tonight, I will walk around the block a few times, with my girls. We will talk about tomorrow, Chem homework, and what I was like at sixteen.
 
Or we might not talk at all.
 
Tonight, I am grateful to spend the rest of the evening in the company of my daughter, who is fine when the world is quiet.
She doesn’t feel conversation is as necessary as coffee. I do.
But tonight, I’m grateful I’m breathing, and that Katy still holds my hard, from time to time.
 

Last night, no sleep.
Today, I woke up around 10 am. I am sleepwalking thru everything.
is there a possibility that in future days I will look back on this as respite? As a moment with family, to indulge in watching tv and books and begin conversations I’ve been putting off for a million years?
At so many points, I’ve thought-
Once I get thru the baby years, I’ll be good.
Once Colin stops going to the woods, life will be perfect.
Once I lose 20 pounds, get a promotion, go on vacation, finish my degree, things will fall into place.
It’s hard to live in a world that is entirely defined by this virus.
Yet, my world is not defined by Covid 19.
Katy is coming downstairs to dance in our living room.
The birds are noisy, the air is warm. It is spring.
My house is clean, my refrigerator is organized. I actually gave a presentation to Sheldon and Katy about where to put the cheese, the hot sauce, the vegetables; and the importance of proper placement. (I can’t believe they actually listened, and pretended they would always remember to put the salad dressing in the door. Not a chance.)
I don’t really think it’s important that the cheese goes in the bottom shelf, my floors are shiny, and my blender looks brand new.
It’s important that this isn’t another time in my life that I spend waiting for it to be over.
It’s going to be while, and time is precious.
I need to know this in my head and in my heart.
I’m working on it.
Love,
Julie

Going forward, it’s a given that every day we meditate in the morning, or are interrupted meditating in the morning, I eat more than I should, I walk the dog.

I read, we watch tv, we visit the ocean, I venture into stores for necessities like art supplies, or tonic water.

Katy and I laugh a lot, about her choice of teeshirts, the way I can’t ever find the cinnamon, and the look she gives me when I suggest she feed the cats- a little bit of hysteria creeps in sometimes. We’ve also taken to dancing around the kitchen to Shakira, Chicago, The Romantics, whatever is playing on the radio, again. This irritates or arouses Sophie, depending on whether or not she’s had breakfast.

I talk to Colin every day. Every day, he tells me he is in the middle of something and rushes to get off the phone. Maybe he’s working with his buddies on building a pyramid,  he’s writing an opus, or training for the Olympics.

We gave his basketball hoop to a neighbor for her little boy. When she stopped by to pick it up she told me that Collie used to play ball with her son at the bus stop a million years ago. I loved her a little then.

Katy and I watched the ensemble comedy, “He’s Not That Into You,”. Movies feel weird since our reality feels more dramatic than Gennifer Godwin figuring out that if a guy doesn’t call, it’s not a good sign.

I’m heading out for dog walk number five. It is almost 10, cold, windy, and I just want to let my headphones swallow up my ears, and keep them warm. I want to run a little, I’m not a runner, so it’ll be more a sad jog, but I feel the need to do something a little different tonight.

Stay amazing. Be kind, to others, and to yourself.

Peace.

Julie

March 22, 2020

 

 

It’s Only Day Four?

March 21, 2020

Day Four
It’s only day four?
Almost forgot the 930 morning meditation, but remembered sometime after 10.
Meditation is easier for me laying down, it’s hard for me to listen to my breath while I’m worrying about my posture. I peeked at Katy a few times, she seems to have this meditation thing down. I’ll start calling her Buddha if she ever comes out of her room.
Then breakfast, and laundry. Lunch, and dishes.
I’ve been paying attention as the day goes on, in case I do something worthy, but, well, I flossed for an extra long time? I went online and fell in love with Conan O’Brian all over again? Is this worthy?
Long walk around Ponkapoag with Sophie in the rain. No need for any distancing, the world stayed home while we strolled in the mud. On the way back, stopped by the liquor store and picked up a large bottle of Screwball peanut butter whiskey.
I avoided getting groceries because I spent all my cash on alcohol but long to go to Shaw’s for a box of pasta the way I used to crave a night out.
I discovered half way into day one that ice cream isn’t a good idea. Someday I may want to wear pants agin, and button them.
I’ve heard 18 months and mid May, and sometime this summer, and next week, in terms of a return to normal, but a friend said, there will be no returning to normal, or not the old normal. This friend also said extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions.
I can not say I did anything extraordinary today. I didn’t buy ice cream. I did buy whiskey, but I don’t plan to drink it any time soon. I walked the dog, but that was more a favor to me than to her. I made Katy breakfast and lunch, but I’m pretty sure she’s in charge of dinner, and it’s popcorn.
I tried to convince my mom not to play bridge, but she went anyway, and I think I will let her figure out her social calendar without my input. I use any excuse to call her on the phone.
I’ve let go of normal, and will cling to gratitude for now-this moment, this breath, this night.
That is easy for me to say from this chair at this time, across from an unopened bottle of whisky, Sophie snoring in the next room.
I haven’t faced the laundry table since noon.

The smack of a basketball against the driveway just before dinner
The back door snapping shut as my son runs inside for a plate of spaghetti,
The sun falling down,
the smell of a dark, wet, sky,
Dishes, cat food, liquid detergent,
The sound of leaving, and staying,
The smack of the basketball just after dinner-
I lean on the sink, close my eyes.

 

All that has happened
Has not.
It is just before spring.
He is my boy.
I am the mother of two,
With lunches to pack,
Who needs to make plans for camp.
The basketball smacks against
the driveway, against his hand.

 

There is no noise
When he makes a basket.
Never was.

 

I don’t know what I’m waiting for,
So I turn the radio up,
While I wash the pot, wipe the plates.
He stays outside.

As long as the music plays,
He’s making
One basket

After another.

 

There is alcohol. Wine, fancy cocktails with basil floating in them like pine needles, and beer.

There are long, dark wood walks with a dog that follows, lingers, then sprints to a pile of damp leaves. There is the observation of joy, as she thrashes in gold and rusty brown and dirt. When she jumps into the van, my sweet girl smells like she was out all night, and it’s Thursday afternoon.

There is work, swallowing handfuls of chocolate chips from the fridge meant for Sunday pancakes, dinners out at restaurants I can’t afford, where we share appetizers and order just one more.


There is splitting the check even though I ordered just one more, and knowing it’s understood. I needed that.

There is time with friends.

There are phone calls to mom, and not calling mom, because I don’t want her to know details. There is knowing she is there to listen to the details if it comes to that.

There is music from when I was his age, and his own music, the inappropriate language, the grinding bass, the beat. There is time at the gym, lifting metal, finding downward dog in a room full of women who look they don’t have a clue even though probably half of them have been where I am now.

There are impassioned conversations about Trump, the Supreme Court, moving to Canada, the latest from Trump.

There the memes of Obama and Biden.

There is tv and slippers and sleeping pills and falling asleep with the tv on so I don’t have to think about anything but the carefully written dialogue written by writers on another coast that belong to a union and  are probably talking about Trump right now.

There is knowing, somewhere, in my head, this is not cancer. It is not Alzheimer’s, or living without heat, or living alone, or being old, and wishing for what will never come again.

When I find myself dealing with another variety of grief, I may or may not turn to the same these things I have found  along this journey.

Inside this life of mine, right now, I still find bliss and laughter, even though this heart of mine weighs more than my whole house, weights more than anything I have ever carried.

I have found a way to lift this heart and love this child and move forward into the tomorrow and next month.

Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes my knees buckle and I lean knowing I have lost it all. I find myself on the sofa, wishing I had softer socks, or a magazine, or a softer pillow, or it was ten years ago.

Then my daughter asks me to sign her permission slip. A student calls with a question. Sophie sighs in her sleep and I know she is dreaming of bunnies.

So I pull myself up and I take myself down to my bedroom. I find sleep, I do not dream of bunnies, that I know of anyway.

But I wake up next to Sophie and that helps.

My family is home with me tonight. I’m a little bit angry and totally blessed.

Well, mostly blessed.

I hope I dream of bunnies.

There was a band concert tonight at the high school. All ages were playing, in the post recorder years-. 6th grade thru 12th.
 
I don’t usually get that excited about school concerts. My daughter plays the flute in a sea of fifteen other flautists. Since it’s classical music, and she’s a little older now, it’s not considered good form to kneel down in the orchestra pit to take photos where I can actually see it’s her, instead of one of the other little girls with long hair and a silver rod sticking out of her chin.
 
The music was lovely tonight.This is the first time Kaitlin performed on the same evening as the high school band. There was a eclectic combination of jazz, a smattering of avant garde, I think, or maybe it was modern, and some haunting classical pieces. If I’d known I was going to write this down for the world to read, I would have stolen a program so I wouldn’t seem like such an idiot.
 
I arrived late. Right after I dropped Katy and her friend off to warm up (sorry about the insider musical terms, I was in high school band too,) I had a call to pick her big brother from a friend’s house.
 
I suggested Colin join us at the concert. He said “no, thank you”.
 
Actually, that’s not what he said. The terms he used would sound mean in print, and he’s not a mean boy. I don’t think he’s a mean boy, he’s a fifteen year old boy and he certainly acts pretty damn nasty sometimes, but when I took him to the drive thru he shared his french fries. And he’d been working out. Everyone knows french fries are a key component to muscle recovery.
 
So I had to pick Colin up, get him food, check my teeth for lipstick, remove lipstick, reapply lipstick and fill a go cup with yesterday’s coffee. By the time I was back and parked, far, far away from the front door, I was five minutes late walking into the auditorium.
 
Rock’n roll concerts start late. Band concerts start exactly on time.
 
I staggered up the stairs. In the very top row, and I saw a couple I knew. They did that wave thing, 2nd level, which means “we are saying hello, but we also have a spare seat for you if are willing to climb all the way up and over to join us.” I joined them.
 
I tucked myself into the folding chair and settled down to listen. I looked at all the people in the audience. Colin’s soccer coach from 2nd grade. My friend’s daughter. A yoga classmate and fellow church goer who gives the best hugs in the world. The two people who had welcomed me to sit next to them; they don’t know me well but they have offered me wine on more than one occasion and they’re funny and they think I’m funny so I think I love them too.
 
Small town concerts are different than small town sports events. I had a chance to take stock. I studied the faces of acquaintances, friends, neighbors, gym buddies, and kids. Kids that I’d known first in strollers were tiptoeing down the stairs and out into the lobby to buy snacks by the themselves.
 
I closed my eyes and was swept inside the music. In between songs, I peered onto the stage for a glimpse of my daughter, or Madeleine, or Andy, Colin’s friend from football playing jazz saxophone.
 
It was long. Sometimes it was boring. Sometimes it was fantastic. Sometimes it was sweet and sometimes mysterious. Throughout the entire concert, I felt so blessed to be there, at Milton High School with all of these people I’ve shared so many moments like these with, most of whom I don’t know by name.
 
We share a town. We are sharing our lives in this town in this turbulent, scary time. But inside this town, at the spelling bee and the soccer match, day to day life is still familiar and naive. Yes, there is bad stuff happening here, look at the thousands of beer cans in Cunningham Park.The high school has been on lockdown more than twice in the past couple of years. We fight like crazy people on Facebook, and then seek out a yoga class or head out the back door for a run in the hope of finding some peace.
 
But inside the high school, last night, we were all in it together.
 
I know your daughter, look out for my son. I’ll keep an eye out for your cat that sleeps sprawled in the street. I promise to buy cookies from your niece if you’ll smile at my daughter when you see her standing alone in the morning, waiting for the bus.
 
If you don’t know me, I’m Colin and Katy’s mom. Lately, they’ve been growing up way too fast. So be kind to me too. This is hard. Not just having teenagers in the house, but knowing that the days of band concerts, doling out money for ice cream, helping with homework, and liking the same songs on the radio are pretty much on the way out. All that’s really left are band concerts and football games.
 
I’ve got seven more years of concerts and games.
 
So when you see me, say hi. We will sit on the sidelines together. We will applaud for the people we love, the people we know and the life we are living right now- in the stands, walking the dog, and driving the streets in this little corner of the world.
 
It’s nice knowing I have friends, even if we don’t all know each others names.
 
I’m Julie.Band concert

15 feels like shit.

February 22, 2016

Let’s just say a friend of mine has a teenage son.

And this friend’s been having to deal with a lot of teenage angst.

This friend has been on edge, which is a nice way of saying she’s ready to pull all her hair out. My friend likes her hair.

Then my friend took a moment to remember how it feels to be miserable and left out and scared and angry at the whole world.

She remembered what 15 felt like.

It felt like wearing jeans two sizes too small- uncomfortable and embarrassing, or being lost in a shirt a shirt 2 sizes too big, that your mom swore looked great, knowing everyone thinks you look ridiculous. It smelled like Clearasil and blackberry brandy, anger and old kleenex. It tasted like tears, flat beer and words that couldn’t be taken back, no matter what. It felt like regret and fear and rock n’roll and springtime and the heart when the phone started ringing and the heart when it realized the phone was never going to ring again. It felt like all these things every single day, every single hour. Just thinking about this made my friend very tired.

My friend is thankful she is not 15.

My friend is going to try to use a combination of breath, empathy and attending her “kickit” kickboxing twice a week to help her not make his misery all about her.

My friend is going to try to be a little more understanding of what he’s going thru.

She is not going to let her sympathies turn her into a doormat.

It is going to be a process.

I wish my friend a lot of luck.

 

 

4181938366_df6cf47bc9_b.jpg

I walked away from church at First Parish Milton today after listening to a sermon by Reverend Hank Peirce holding these prayers close-

Every day, I will try to choose faith. I will choose joy. I will choose trust and love and hope.

This is about the big world we live in- I will apply it to the future and all the people that share the planet with me. I will make these choices even on days the news is grim, the alerts are high, and Facebook is screaming in capitol letters to do the opposite.

This is about my corner of the world, about the face I show my children. I will try to find trust for them when I don’t want to;  I will let them go while my heart screams to keep them close. It is believing that someday they will learn not to leave their peanut butter knives on the counter and their clothes on the stairs.

It is believing in who they are now and who they are becoming, even though I don’t know who that will be. They have choices, too. I will honor them.

It is about them knowing when times are tough that my door is always unlocked.  I am here and our home is open to the world. I want them to have the gift of belief in the future even when the right now sucks.

door-open
Right now, right now is Sunday afternoon. My son is bringing me coffee after keeping me up half the night

My daughter is playing her flute.


I’m going to yoga.


I am so grateful for now.

 

birds-nest-314490_640