I’d really love to understand
why some people have received their stimulus checks
and I have not.
I want to understand
why some people have received unemployment benefits
and I have not.
It took two months for my tax return to come in,
and others received theirs after two weeks.
I am a single mother and am starting to sweat it,
being in this holding pattern, waiting, waiting
to hear news.
So I am making call after call after call.
And…guess what keeps happening?
I keep getting placed on hold.
Holding pattern, placed on hold,
maybe I just need to be held!
I know complaining won’t help,
so I am asking for your prayers, friends.
Could you please pray that
what is mine arrives swiftly, without delay?
Could you visualize me and my kids flourishing,
with plenty of resources to keep our household going?
Thanks for your help.
I was really hoping the fog would clear
but the weather was dreary again
and my mind mirrored the soup
I saw out my window.
My patience was thin
my fuse was short
and pretty much everything
felt like too much.
Really, all I wanted to do
was curl into a ball
and sleep the day away,
but someone had to feed the children.
Someone had to make sure they completed their schoolwork.
Someone had to keep the kids off the electronics
Someone had to hear their questions,
and put out their fires,
and divert their attention;
someone had to ask them to step outside
and get some fresh air.
Someone had to make sure that they bathed.
Someone had to tuck them in bed.
Someone had to tuck them back into bed
after removing the iPad from the closet.
That someone was me.
That someone needs to go to bed.
I was too tired last night
to even think about writing.
I did think about it…
And that’s as far as I got.
Even the thought
But I haven’t missed a day in a while
wasn’t enough for me to push through the exhaustion
and string a few words together.
Now I grieve the loss of yesterday’s poem.
What would I have written
if I had had the strength to stay awake?
I felt like I wasn’t taking enough time for nourishment,
so I spent some time in the kitchen yesterday and today,
making myself nourishing soups and salads…what a triumph!
But then I didn’t sew as many masks as I thought I would,
and I just felt tired from standing, chopping, cooking,
and what I really wanted was someone to cook for me.
Last weekend I was productive, making multiple masks a day,
but I didn’t get to my meditation until very late,
and I felt so off from not beginning my day with meditation,
as I have been doing for over eight years now.
The week before that my meditation practice was simply sublime,
but my kitchen was a disaster and I was terribly hungry
and tried to ignore my body’s hunger signs (which is bad, don’t do that)
and gave myself meager rations of whatever
because I didn’t want to bother with cooking.
When my kids are here they drive me crazy with their bickering
and the clumsy way they thunder about the piles of disorganization
and when they’re gone my nervous system goes haywire
because we are hardwired to gather close when times are tough…
I crave space when my home is noisy with my children’s needs,
and I crave their voices when the silence in my house feels too spacious…
How do I find balance when the center is always shifting?
I had put my head down and refused to attend to the truth,
but the truth is like a beach ball that you try to hold underwater—
it just keeps popping up, and sometimes it bops you in the face.
I had to look at the facts. I’ve been unemployed since mid-March,
my tax refund and stimulus check have not yet arrived,
and I’m trying to make money for groceries by sewing masks
for friends in need…
So today I went ahead and applied for unemployment.
It feels strange to be one of so many…to get in line
behind 42,363 other people waiting for help.
I wonder where the money will come from to help all of us.
I wonder why other governments seem to have all this dialed in,
and our leader is an inarticulate, pompous, ignorant clown
who apparently is telling us to drink disinfectant??
So many things to wonder about on a day like today,
when before you had refused to look at the truth,
and then finally decided to apply for unemployment.
Made some more masks today.
It was a rainy day and we were inside for most of it.
I’m tired of being tired, tired of being stuck at home.
At the same time,
I’m glad to be home, glad to have time with my kids.
At the same time, I’m tired of their arguments,
tired of diverting their attention,
tired of coaxing, cajoling and bribing them
to read instead of watch TV
play outside instead of watch TV
play a game instead of watch TV
make art instead of watch TV.
The old saying goes
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Maybe I should just start watching TV?
Before I met my kids’ dad I had been living on my own without a TV for years. When we were together I would periodically watch a show with him,
but I still preferred reading, writing, sewing and knitting to sitting in front of the boob tube. He left our marriage nearly three years ago, and I went back to my pre-marriage habit of never watching TV. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve chosen to watch Netflix over engaging in my preferred pursuits; I guess I’d just rather use my brain for other things. But boy do my kids love it! I don’t want them to have too much screen time; I feel like I’m letting them down when I allow them to sit there, zombified, watching the screen for more than an hour. I dunno. Maybe it’s time to allow myself a little down time?
I stayed up until 3am sewing masks.
Today I sewed more masks.
I’m glad I can sew, glad I have fabric,
glad I can help in some way.
But I am so, so tired now.
I remember that if I’m running on empty
I can’t fill anyone else up.
Somehow I managed to make it through today,
being a mom, being an adult,
being someone who wants to help by making masks.
We had three good meals and plenty of snacks,
we went on a walk in the beautiful sunshine.
We laughed, talked, shared,
and I short-circuited plenty of little spats
with my own brand of silly mom humor.
But now I’m empty, barely running on fumes.
There’s only one thing left to do
(after showering and brushing my teeth, of course)—
GO TO BED EARLY!
When going to the grocery story feels terrifying
And your friend the chiropractor
can see only one patient at a time,
When driving through the city reminds you
of an episode of The Walking Dead
and your children are home all day, every day,
When your new normal is definitely not anything
like you ever thought normal would be—
you might be going through a global health crisis,
and you might want to give up.
But like Churchill said,
“When going through hell, keep going.”
Keep going, friends. Keep going.
I taught a Zoom yoga class tonight.
It’s so strange not to be with my students,
you know, in the same room, like I’m used to.
At the same time, here I was in Maryland,
and there were friends in Texas who joined,
one in New Jersey, and one from somewhere
I clearly wasn’t, because it was night where I was,
and she had light streaming through her window.
So although I can’t be physically present to my students,
somehow, I can be with friends all over the world.
And that, my friends, is the power of the internet.
So although this strange time comes with many challenges,
there are some unexpected silver linings,
like teaching yoga to someone a thousand miles away,
Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo invites us to go on a walk and gather some things to create a “walking archive.” This afternoon I went on a walk around my neighborhood and left the sidewalk to duck into the woods. I was looking for morels. I found one within minutes, but it was past its prime, so I left it there, hopefully to shed its spores and give life to some new morels someday. I kept walking and came across a nice piece of quartz just lying on the forest floor. Moments later, a beautiful small feather tinged with orange caught my eye. And on the way back home, back on the sidewalk, I felt moved to pick two violets. One white, One purple.
My heart full of melancholy,
I stepped out into the world
only to see two little girls,
also stepping outside.
They were wearing masks.
I felt sad at the reminder of what life has become.
I walked into the woods looking for morels
but was really seeking solace
in the arms of the Great Mother.
I picked my way along the forest, down a slope,
across a stream,
winding my way among bunches of skunk cabbage,
every once in a while pausing to sit on an old mossy log
or hug a tree.
A gleaming chunk of quartz caught my eye.
And then a feather.
And then the sound of the stream.
And then the gift of the sunlight
warming my weary soul.
On my way back home, two little violets
spoke their sweet, secret language to me.
My heart is still full of melancholy
as I feel the sorrow of the whole world,
but the Great Mother still holds me,
always holds me, eternally holds me.