And just like that, over three months have gone by since I wrote my last letter, and nearly five months since we started living a strict socially distanced life.
I would say that amount of time passing without me realizing it is surprising, but I gather this is pretty normal for COVID life, girls.
In our normal pre-COVID life, we had so many markers for keeping track of our days, weeks, seasons. But that is not now.
Now life is daily.
That’s the best way to describe it. (Right now at least. Today. Maybe I’ll change my mind tomorrow.)
Some days feel long and relentless and exhausting, and some days feel short and I blink and they’re over. And sometimes it turns out that every day is apparently two weeks at the rate that we are flying through summer.
I mean, does it even still count as “summer” if we started our new homeschool year in the middle of July week? I’m not sure, and I don’t really care.
March, April, May, June, July, and now here we are in mid-August.
There are many things I thought I would be able to do at the beginning of quarantine that I haven’t done (finished my novel draft, for example, or written more of these letters).
And there are many things we have done during quarantine that have surprised me (the giant pool in the backyard, for example: we are not pool people; the herringbone brick patio I now can’t imagine our yard without).
And the truth is, there are many things that have remained completely normal about this summer: a huge box of peaches from The Peach Truck, five boxes of 25 pounds of tomatoes processed into marinara sauce, a weekly CSA of veggies and fruits from a local farm, reading and reading and reading, being outside and biking around the neighborhood, mowing the grass every week until that magic moment it gets so dry it stops growing, you two practicing your piano every day.
Some days we have followed a plan for the day. And sometimes we do not. Yesterday, before breakfast, you wanted to play outside, and it wasn’t hot yet, so I said yes. Actually, I said, go get dressed, I’ll bug-spray you, you can play outside all morning, and then we’ll come in and shower and have a half day of homeschool in the afternoon.
(One of my flexibility improvisations this school year, with that mid-July start, is allowing half days of school in our schedule as necessary.)
The truth is, one day at a time is about all I can manage, doing the task in front of me, being attentive to you and your questions, circling our conversations naturally back through difficult and imperative conversations about love, community, racism, justice, poverty, courage.
Some days you are fearful. Some days you are brave.
Sometimes I am too. Both on the same day, even.
And we keep on.
Recently I heard someone say that the truth is, we don’t know where we are in the progression of this pandemic. Are we still at the beginning? Are we in the middle? Are we near the end?
The experts don’t know, and we don’t know either.
There are days I am hopeful. Other days I am incredibly frustrated at the lack of care I see around me.
But most days, the days I spend with you, right here in our house, our yard, our pop-up pool, I’m grateful.
I soak in Vitamin D and your questions. We ride around the block and chant Shakespeare in iambic pentameter. We pay attention to butterflies and caterpillars and the heron that we’ve seen land on our neighbor’s house every few weeks this summer.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that in those things, I recognize grace.
There is enough.