It’s been two months since my first temperature check. How are you feeling?
I needed a reset this week. Monday was a holiday and on Tuesday I took the day to celebrate Faye’s birthday. Today, I needed to start with a long walk to quite literally smell the roses. We left the house at 7:30, which is to say the hour most mornings when things start to go haywire. Doesn’t leave much time for serenity, does it?
The very worst weeks of the pandemic feel like they’re behind us, but in the first hour that I worked on this, I heard eight ambulances scream through the open window. There’s still a general sense of emergency, and a second and simultaneous pandemic of frayed nerves and exhaustion. Our own family has remained healthy, but that isn’t so for families we know and love and the loss everywhere is nearly impossible to wrap our minds around. Nearly 21,000 New Yorkers, dead from a virus in little more than two months time.
I want to lick fingers sticky with ice cream drips, and wipe sweat from upper lips, and duck into a coffee shop for an iced drink and a pee break without thinking twice. I want to be sitting in a restaurant, too close to the couple breaking up with each other at the next table. I want to sidle up next to the old women at the farmers’ market who touch all the peaches and listen to them quibble about the best way to know what’s ripe. I want an uninterrupted work day. I want my kids to come home with stories from school. I want people and our city to survive all of this so much more.
There’s been news this week of a favorite shop in the neighborhood that’s closing its storefront and nearby a beloved coffee shop that won’t be opening its doors again. Friends have put bunk beds and strollers to the curb and decided to leave the city altogether. The public school sent an email with a form asking families to send word if they’re not planning to return in the fall.
Have mercy and don’t ask me my future plans. Faye is pining for an apartment with a backyard. Silas is pining to go to the playgrounds. Calder is oblivious to it all, only pining for milk.
Yesterday, Faye turned six, which I thought might make me feel melancholy but instead made me feel lucky. A six year-old’s birthday in quarantine is no time for austerity measures and so I placed an online order at the local kitchen shop for glittery sprinkles and sparkly candles and rainbow striped cupcake liners. We cut unicorn horns out of painted paper and made posies of roses. James made Odette’s cupcakes and frosting. We ate strawberries in the park and came home early to avoid the public restroom. (We are always coming home early these days to avoid the public restrooms.) By candlelight and through video screens we sang happy birthday with family. We went to bed too late.
Calder and I took a long walk to run an errand this afternoon and there were ambulance sirens, but also the distant strain of an ice cream truck. Hope springs eternal.
And now, a thank you. Like it has for so many others, this pandemic has made my work and sponsorship of this site unpredictable at best. I’ve been so touched by readers writing to check in. Since the last time I wrote, there’s been a flurry of folks sending tips via Venmo and Paypal, and buying my book, and taking my Skillshare class, and generally rooting for this little corner of the internet. I’m so incredibly grateful for the support.
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