I would like to nominate Swistle for Most Perfectly-Stated Summary of These Particular Parenting Issues, and also for the larger award of Most Reassuring and Consistently Insightful, Relatable, and/or Delightful Blog Presence During a Pandemic.

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Semi-relatedly, it’s interesting to me how I have been incredibly drawn to things that are consistent, that offer a sense of stability in the tsunami-debris of pandemic life, and yet other things that routinely happen at scheduled times each year are actively annoying to me. Easter, for instance. I mean, were the parents, especially those with young kids, consulted about this, because honestly who has the emotional energy for yet another round of holiday magic-making? I love a Reese’s egg as much as the next guy but the whole entire rest of it just seems exhausting.

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It’s been sunny over the last couple days and I cannot BELIEVE the effect it has on me. I bitch and moan each and every year about Oregon’s dark wet winters but man, this season has been rough for real. The days are getting noticeably longer now, there are daffodils and crocuses everywhere, and this March sneak peek of brighter days ahead has been just the ticket.

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Riley has his learner’s permit! I know it probably gets tiresome to hear how mind blowing it is that children do not stay small forever because duh and yet this indisputable fact never stops straight-up blowing my damn mind. My little guy, now a 6-foot-tall manchild with a mustache that must be held at bay, driving a VEHICLE.

I don’t really know how to get over the sorrow of having those small children — my boys’ younger selves — being gone forever. (Even as I so deeply appreciate being past those early years.) Sometimes I imagine that these deep-voiced teenagers are like nesting dolls, that the babies I held and the toddlers I played with are all there inside, and when I hug them now I have my arms around the whole of them, the whole of our lives together.

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Here is some exciting news: my mom, her longtime partner, and my aunt are all now fully vaccinated (Pfizer) — and so am I. Later this month I’ll be staying at the coast with my mom and aunt for our first visit since we briefly (and riskily, in retrospect) got together late last spring. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I do recall there was something particularly awful going on politically so THAT ought to narrow it down, ha ha haaargghh.

Between the four of us, it doesn’t sound like anyone got whammied with the more severe-sounding side effects, although my aunt reports of a friend whose freshly-vaccinated husband had brain fog to the point where he couldn’t identify his dinner that night. (“What IS that??” “…A potato.”)

My vaccine opportunity came about through hospice, as a volunteer I was offered access to the leftovers from an all-day clinic for healthcare workers. When I first got the notification I went through a bunch of ethical hand-wringing, but ultimately decided that as long as I wasn’t actively stepping in front of someone else’s place in line, I should go ahead.

Both clinics I went to (the initial, plus the follow-up, which was made by appointment) were held in the hospital, they were very well managed and not remotely crowded. The shot itself was given from a worker at one of several tables set up in a conference room, then each of us was sent to an observation room to hang out for 15 minutes.

The vibe at both clinics was a DELIGHT. Everyone was in a good mood, and that alone was enormously bolstering. All of us in the observation room seemed to have the same air of gratitude and awe and hope: despite the distancing and masks there was somehow the feeling of a group high five.

I had a sore arm both times but that was it. After my second shot I walked out of that hospital teary-eyed with a great swelling of emotion I couldn’t even really unpack. A tangled-up mix of admiration and frustration for us humans: look at how so many of us try to take care of each other, look how many choose not to.

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