And the wind followed me wherever I’d go
Rain came down where I made my stand
And the cyclone rose with a wave of my hand”
Scarlet said it just the other day, when we were getting celebratory ice cream and cookies from Insomnia Cookies. She said, “It changed, overnight.” We were touring the middle school one Tuesday, and I was smiling at a few friends – bursting to tell them about my pregnancy, which wasn’t yet public. Scarlet took her close friend into the corner to tell her, and they were adorably beaming. By Wednesday, I vaguely heard the news about the virus spreading, but I still didn’t think it would or could touch us. Nothing ever reached us, anyway, not in Massachusetts and not in my semi-charmed kinda life. By Thursday, we saw the after school play that Scarlet’s class had worked on for months, and the seats were set up six feet apart. By Friday, just the next day, the kids got off that school bus after a half day, and they never got back on again. They will, I think.
They have done well. And they do well, considering. It’s in different ways. They’re growing up during this, and their strengths becomes weaknesses become strengths, and sometimes they bounce little quirks and triggers from one to the other, and back again. Scarlet holds so much inside, but it’s not like she’s bursting from the pressure, like me. It’s more like she takes it in, holds it in for a certain amount of time, and then breathes it out like cleansing steam. I can be like boiling point, smoke from the ears, primal war cry, or worse. Stunningly debilitating anxiety.
Des is different. He’s always been so interesting, and has always thrived on busy hands and a busy mind; structure and routine and teachers and friends and grandparents. I’ve noticed the darn pandemic wearing at him lately. Or maybe it’s not lately, but I’m waking up from different fog bubbles of pregnancy discomfort, and all of the trauma and heartbreak and pain of having a new baby, and that’s even when things are going well. Des, though, falls into these pockets of anxiety and even panic from normal and only slightly annoying discomforts. For real, I’m talking postnasal drip or digestive troubles. I get it, though. I get annoyed at him and yet I relate so well, even without the darkened frame of being a child going through the tunnel of this pandemic.
Glad to be given and received by me
Rain came down where I made my stand
And the cyclone rose with a wave of my hand
With a wave of my hand”
They still welcome the magic. These kids, who have only ever known the magic; the open doors and calm seas and skies. My kids have an abundance of love and health, though, and I think that’s one of their gifts. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect, but I believe the foundation is strong, even if I feel like I’m crumbling. They’re built of all sorts of solid materials. They have a baby brother, and regular Florida trips. They have tons of exuberant extended family members, and dream trips to see sloths and whale sharks. It’s dreamy. Except it’s real, so you have bedhead and postnasal drip; even rainbow sprinkles that go down the wrong pipe. It’s scary, sometimes.
Just can’t see it so well with my fading eyes”
I’m ready for this to end. We all are. At this point it’s embedded in their narratives and their psyches; and we don’t know how that will look a year from now, or 20 years from now. My earliest memories contain my father, but he was taken suddenly from me when I was at the tail end of being three-years-old. That embedded itself into my narrative and my psyche, but I didn’t stop thinking I was magic. Oh no, maybe I still believed, and still believe, despite it. Light and sloths and whale sharks and rainbow sprinkles have a way of getting in. I wonder if my kids feel like I once felt about timing and luck and kindness and light and love. And I wonder if, like me, it won’t necessarily go away. It ages; wears and tears. It changes, but it’s there. After all this time?
Except the board we’re playing on, how it’s to be divided
Will more years yet die alone? The question’s many sided
Got no answers of my own and none have been provided”
Do they believe it? Will they believe it, always? We have such different paths and journeys, and much different obstacles and outcomes, but we’re carved from the same hearts; drawn to the same light. I think often about what we go through, and how much most of us can still believe in ourselves and others. I think often that if you’re hardwired for joy and delight, and ambition, there’s nothing that will stop you from finding it. And spreading it. This was a gift given to me.
And the cyclone rose, wave of my hand
Rain came down where I made my stand”