|Ghost Dancer. Acrylic pour on canvas.
Since we've been sheltering in place the last few months, I've become increasingly aware of how inhumane my life was before this started. There was so much traffic. So much time in the car with exhausted children, driving somewhere. So much loneliness, but also never, ever time alone. I crammed sleep into the edges of my days. I'd always struggled to sleep, but the years since I'd become a mother - and after the anxiety-driven months following my separation leading to divorce - I'd really struggled to fall asleep or stay asleep. I was running on fumes.
I missed the yoga practice I had before my children were born. I wanted to write and paint. I wanted to write and paint with my children. I wanted to remember the things I loved when I didn't always have something to do - the endlessly intricate, psychedelic sketches I did in high school. The blog I kept during the darkest, most heart breaking years of my marriage. I wanted to live my life and not simply slog through it.
We're living in a different kind of hard, now, but there is so much beauty in it. The hard parts are real, and they come at me fast. I miss my parents, my sister, my niece. I miss having a reason to wear my real clothes. I miss recognizing approval in the eyes of people I respect at work, and being able to read the room for a reaction. I miss having time to myself - even if it was time in traffic. My kids miss school and their friends - especially my older daughter. The little one is a wild woman now, barely able to put her clothes on anymore. I worry that she'll never learn to read fluently. (I know she's totally going to learn to read fluently.) I worry that the kids will go back to school prematurely - I worry that the steady stream of Amazon boxes will bring a virus to our house.
We've been so careful. Have we been careful enough?
The beauty in this time, though. The children see me working, and they see how much I love my job. I'm good at what I do, and I'm proud of my work. I'm glad they get to see and hear me when I'm coaching women on my team or offering direction for a project. I want them to understand that side of me. (I don't want them to remember how often I had to tell them to be quiet. Go in the other room. Go outside.)
They're playing outside so much! They're digging for worms and kicking a ball around. Arguing over the swing. Coloring with sidewalk chalk and playing with mud when I'm not paying attention. (I can't pay attention for so much of the day. I have to work.)
I'm doing more yoga than I've ever done before, and I love it. I'm able to watch my body become more open and strong. I can hold poses I couldn't do when this started. I love that I can stand right up for a meeting and do an hour of yoga for lunch, then sit back down in my sweaty clothes and resume work. Before, I'd have to leave work early or get there late or take an absurdly long lunch to make it to a yoga class. But now, it's the most natural thing to do to spontaneously burst into yoga in the middle of the day.
My kids are so happy. They're so afraid. We're so close to each other. There are chasms between us. I hope this will be a happy memory. I'm afraid this will do damage to them that I can't correct. I hope this never ends, and I wish it were already a memory.