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?
On the mend…
drank broth for the first half of the day to regain my strength.
It struck me what an unconvenience being sick is,
and how I frequently take for granted my good health,
and how moments like what I endured yesterday
serve to remind me how fortunate I am
to be a person who is healthy most of the time.
Now I’m just so tired,
after getting my kids back from their father,
and doing the single mom thing all day,
the meals, the snacks,
throwing them outside to soak in the springtime,
diverting their attention from electronics,
encouraging connection with the earth,
getting them to read, and practice their music,
and make something with their hands…
all of this takes energy, and I am depleted.
I pray I’ll sleep well tonight.
This mama is tired beyond words.
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!
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.
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.
Over at the NaPoWriMo site, today’s prompt inspired me to think a little differently. I like the idea of twenty little poetry projects.
Only birdsong can save me now.
Taking no joy in the television,
growing tired of virtual chats,
I am the introvert who now
to be in a crowded restaurant.
They flutter around the birdfeeder
hopping, singing, pecking.
Their togetherness is so normal,
Only their song can save me.
Hello friends. Today is day 3. Except it’s close to midnight, which means it’s almost tomorrow. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was all about using a rhyme generator and playing around with sound, but I’m not a very rhyme oriented poet—maybe I should try to be more enthusiastic about rhyming? At any rate, I must admit I am totally not in the mood to attempt to generate a word bank right now, so I’m going rogue on this one.
Too Many Words
I don’t need to search for words. I have too many in my head right now.
Virus. Curve. Shelter. Pandemic. Isolation. Crisis. Collapse. Fear.
I attempted to keep myself busy with yard work today.
It’s what normal people do on a normal spring day.
I even got my kids involved.
(Part of me was thrilled to have them outside.
If it were a regular day they would have been in school).
I found myself in tears hours later,
after my kids went to their dad’s house for the weekend,
and I found myself alone, knowing I’d see no one else for days.
Quarantine. Ventilator. Masks. Intubation. Social Distancing. Death.
I call my sister in tears. I tell her that I’m not passing the yoga test,
that I’m not doing this as well as a yoga teacher should do a pandemic.
I’m hearing the inner critic, she said. More tears.
I distracted myself with rare vintage footage of Terrence McKenna,
me and 5000 people on Crowdcast…totally alone, watching together.
I guess that this is how I’ll get through this.
I’ll face my aloneness. Like everyone else in the world.*
*I feel a need to acknowledge those of you who are shut inside with people you don’t necessarily want to be with, my heart goes out to you. Maybe my situation (days of isolation) sounds like paradise. Well, I’ll breathe for you as you long for solitude, and I ask you to please breathe for me as I long for company. I’ll take in this peace and quiet, and I’ll radiate this feeling out into the whole world for you to feel. My friends who are with loved ones…please take in your feelings of warmth, being seen, being loved, and radiate this feeling out into the whole world for all of us who are lonely, that we might feeled loved even in our loneliness. Thank you. 🙏🏻❤️🌈🙏🏻