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.
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.
It’s almost 11pm. I am tired. Right before I carried my sleeping son from my bed to his bed, I checked out the prompt over at NaPoWriMo and figured I’d just wing this one.
What It’s Like Being A Single Mom During a Pandemic
I drive into the city to pick up my kids.
The city doesn’t act like a city anymore.
It looks uncertain and confused—
like the rest of us.
It looks like it is waiting for something—
like the rest of us.
We get back home and I fiddle with my computer
until I successfully get my fourth grader into her online class meetup.
I bring her snacks.
She tells me she isn’t supposed to eat during online learning.
(I think to myself, Why in the world not?)
I watch her drawing during the online class,
just like she does when she attends class in person.
I mean, just like she used to do,
back when kids went to school…
I fiddle with my other computer
until I successfully get my second grader into his online class meetup.
I bring him snacks.
He chews with his mouth open
and sprays bits of apple on my laptop.
I am not amused.
I attempt to read while they finish their online class meetups.
I am only partially successful.
I take my kids out on a walk.
It’s a beautiful, cool day.
My ten year old is already fifteen in her tone, body language,
and declarations of existential angst.
I am not amused.
I attempt empathy, patience, kindness, and compassion.
I attempt to enjoy my walk in spite of my ten year old’s angst.
I am only partially successful.
Back home my idea to bake brownies
devolves into a fight over who gets to set the oven temperature.
I am not amused.
I again attempt empathy, patience, kindness and compassion
and am mostly unsuccessful.
I am disapointed, annoyed, frustrated and depressed.
I want to scream.
Another mom tells me that her husband is annoying her
by sharing his two cents about their kids’ remote learning,
and then going back to his remote working
while my friend attempts to harangue their kids
into actually attending to their remote learning.
She is not amused.
I am suddenly glad that I am single.
I make dinner with as much efficiency as I can muster.
We eat well.
The kids devour their dessert.
We sit together working on our own things.
My ten year old draws.
My eight year old works on a puzzle.
I play with my singing bowls.
We are very successful.
We get ready for bed.
I read to them a few pages
of The Phantom Tollbooth.
My son passes out.
My daughter goes back to her room
to read some Harry Potter.
I muster up the strength to carry my
eight year old into his room.
I pour him into his bed and tuck him in.
My ten year old is still reading.
I tuck her in and turn off the lights.
She smiles and says I love you.
I am extraordinarily successful.
Today’s prompt asks us to write a concrete poem, which is a poem where the lines of words are placed in such a way to form a shape that is in some way connected to the theme of the poem. I wish I knew what uncertainty was shaped like. I’d write a poem in that shape…
The Shape of Uncertainty
It must be kind of wave like,
the shape of uncertainty, because
my uncertainty comes in waves.
Sometimes a little ripple,
sometimes a crashing, roaring tsunami,
whatever the size, the waves keep coming.
I haven’t drowned yet,
because I’ve learned to keep breathing,
catching my breath between the waves,
finding a way to draw the air into my lungs.
Someday when I look back on this
I’ll see that I stayed afloat somehow on this vast ocean.
And though my vessel is tiny, it’s sound.
Come to think of it,
aren’t all emotions shaped like waves?
Love, anger, joy…don’t they all come and go,
uncontrollable, unplanned, vast like the ocean?
I’ll just keep breathing.
Well, it looks like I should start giving myself a limit on time spent on the NaPoWriMo site. Between yesterday’s prompt and today’s, I probably spent two good hours poring over the linked content. Yesterday’s Bosch painting really sucked me in, but so did today’s bizarre news with catchy titles. And of course that led me down another rabbit hole! I’m going off prompt today…
It’s good enough just to breathe.
Bonus points for bathing.
Bonus points for dressing up like you’re going to work…
But it’s totally understandable
if all you want to do is stay in bed.
Sometimes I feel that way too.
Just remember that you deserve your own kindness,
gentleness and understanding.
Remember that you aren’t alone,
even when you’re feeling lonely.
Be generous with your praise;
everybody needs some kindness
right about now.
Mostly, just trust…
Trust that everything will turn out ok.
It will, you know…
Everything will turn out just fine.