What I’ll Tell You Someday

Dear Baby,

You’re still three and a half months away from us, we hope. You kick and squirm and your dad does the same when he feels you through my belly. Tiny little you and your movements make a grown man leap and scream. You already have such power. Before you nestled inside my uterus, we knew you would be immensely powerful–when you were just a dream or a hope or a maybe because of everything we did to get you here. You may only be the size of an eggplant but you have the strength to grab our hearts and souls already.

Someday when you’re older and can understand, I will tell you about the late winter and spring of 2020. I’ll tell you how people looked at this year as a chance to live out their “2020 Visions.” How it was a fresh start for many because something about those two zeroes made everyone feel a new, clean hope. I’ll tell you about no snow days (or just one fake one) and a warm winter that was still wrapped in wintry melancholy, somehow.

Then, I’ll tell you about how your daddy worked 80 hour weeks, all of the sudden. His phone would TING TING in the night and his fingers would clickety-clack out emails at all hours. How he planned and calculated and attempted to save lives in our state. And how suddenly his brand of germaphobia became the way of the whole land.

And conversely, I’ll tell you how you and me were confined to 807 with the occasional fresh air mixed in. How our whole world became gripped by a new fear, for ourselves, for humanity, and for you. I’ll tell you how we loved sleeping for 10 hours, going for distance walks with our family and friends, drinking a pregnancy-appropriate-amount of coffee from a ceramic mug, and taking the most thorough notes for my 8th graders. And I’ll tell you how I had to stop listening to the radio, in favor of the slowest music or a podcast about presidents or the history of soda, because I didn’t want us to hear and feel the weight of the world, particularly on your brand new ears. I’ll tell you how your sweet auntie planned a baby shower for you and how she and I sat together picking everything out for you. Then we had to move it to after you were born. And how even though the world looked relatively normal, it was upside down or sideways or inside out, or all of the above.

I will tell you how we tried to plan for you in the midst of this thing, not knowing what a hospital will look like when you’re ready to enter the world through one–how I tried to prepare myself to be alone for your birth because some new mommas around the country are doing just that. But then I’ll tell you how your great aunts helped me pick paints and a layout for your room. And how I had groceries delivered so you and I could keep drinking lemonade every night.

Most of all, Baby, I will remind you over and over how you were my built-in beacon of light through the weirdest time our generations have ever known. How I rubbed your soccer-ball-sized casing for my own comfort, for yours, for ours, and how I hoped your arrival would be my bookend for this madness. And when I craved touch but your daddy wasn’t home, I had you.

I will tell you how before you were born, you offered so much comfort. But all of those stories are a few years away. So for now, stay squishy and squirmy and stay with me. We’re making a spring wreath today–I’ll need your help.



Until Now Becomes “A Was”

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Well, COVID-19, you’ve created an interesting world for us here. Or perhaps, in many, many small ways over time, we’ve created it ourselves.

Every single email list I have ever joined or company I’ve ever purchased a product from has sent me its own Coronavirus plan. I’m sure this is the same for everyone. They could have just gotten together on a conference call and just used one template. From the Baltimore Chef Shop to Toms Shoes to Wolf Trap Concert Venue. Back on My Feet, About Faces Day Spa, Donors Choose, yoga studios I visited once, a restaurant we never went back to, and on and on to places I don’t have any idea how I got on their email lists. They say…

  • carefully watching this evolving situation
  • given the current circumstances
  • an abundance of caution
  • to do our part to protect our community
  • your safety is our number one priority
  • continue to closely monitor information

Of course the messaging is consistent, what else is there to say? We can’t have nuance in something that is so new and utterly unprecedented. Everyone is entering this moment thinking, “What in the actual ____?”

I’ve found that Coronavirus limitations come in waves of acceptance (unless you’re a dingbat and still chugging Coronas, like this is funny). If you start out thinking that certain aspects of your life will remain the same, you gradually become more accepting of your new isolated existence–just like the NCAA tournament. First I was teaching yoga with hands-on assists but not giving neck rubs, then I announced that I would stop giving the assists and walked the perimeters of the room like I was trying to avoid a security camera, and finally I told both gyms I had to stop teaching after I read this. The next day (March 16), Governor Hogan announced that restaurants, bars, and gyms would be closed.

With Chas working for MEMA, my slow, independent days are a grave contrast to his 7-day work week of 10 hour shifts which are topped off with him coming home to take calls, email, and pace.

Sitting down to watch the governor’s press conferences (always on Chas’s encouragement) means catching the tail-end of whatever TV is before the BREAKING NEWS. I’ve seen how far Rob Lowe has fallen–all the way to “9-1-1: Lone Star.” And why is the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls’ hair…that? Daytime game shows are a true horror, nevertheless, Drew Carey persists. Then there’s the commercials. You need a lawyer, you need a new job, you need car insurance, but what don’t you need? Good credit.

I’ve heard lots of comparisons. I think it’s the natural thing to do when a society is just grasping for meaning by connecting with an existing memory. One is to WWII–but those have been contrasts really. “Thank goodness, this isn’t that.” We’re not at war, many of us aren’t rationing food (though it’s really important to remember that some are). We aren’t fearing for our lives or being persecuted, not sailing across an ocean to be turned away.

Another is to H1N1, which doesn’t really work. All I remember about that is getting a vaccine, whim bam boom, we were okay.

The comparison that lands the most is to the 1918 Flu Pandemic, more aptly, it should be called the 1918 and 1919 Flu Pandemic. Estimates are that it killed between 20-40 million people. Read that number again. Have you ever heard this sung in a child’s voice?

I had a little bird,

Its name was Enza.

I opened the window,

And in-flu-enza.

It’ll haunt your dreams. The “1918 Flu” depressed the average life span in the US by 10 years, infecting 28% of Americans, and killing almost 700,000 of them. You want to feel bolstered and justified in social distancing? Read more about it. In particular, the comparison between St. Louis’s handling and Philly’s is fascinating and pertinent. I heard today on NPR that we, as a nation right now, are more “1918 Philly” than “1918 St. Louis.”

My plan is to use my goal sheet to guide my days. Feel free to click “File” and “Make a Copy” and create your own. Day 1–it went well.

Goals include working on my girls’ reflections and giving them feedback, FaceTiming, registering to absentee vote, completing the US Census, some furniture roulette to begin to prepare for a nursery, daily indoor workouts, writing, baking, crafts, gardening, meditation, and more.

I don’t have any real answers, obviously. Sometimes I have used this blog as my soapbox, my megaphone, my accountability method. Right now, it’s my binoculars and my therapist. Because of the uniqueness of this time, I think we could all benefit from some writing, to process, to remember, and to remind ourselves of what this was like. And yes, eventually, someday, it will be “a was.”


Shar’s take: https://medium.com/@sharhollingsworth/umuntfu-ngumuntfu-ngebantfu-bb477a99949c


KT’s: https://30daysofgratitude.wordpress.com/blog/