It’s July this week. I don’t know where the time went, because it was just March, wasn’t it? The kids finally finished school, or whatever it was that they had been doing for the rest of the academic year. I have been working and working and working as the world burns. I don’t write anymore because things have settled into a sort of routine, a numbing sameness of anxiety and activity. Each week, I start working with a cohort of faculty, going through the same training, having the same discussions, exhausted at the end of it, then rinse, repeat.
This is why May and June flashed past without notice. Wave after wave of anxious faculty, unable to answer their questions about what the fall would look like because we had no idea, but working anyway to try and do our best. Each week, something new would get added, new stressors, new announcements, new numbers, new world events, new local events. And we would incorporate it the best we could in what we were doing that week, trying our best to appear somewhat sane in what can only be described as insane circumstances.
We’re slowly opening back up, but the routine is so ingrained, it doesn’t change much. The one exception is that outdoor pools are open for lap swimming and so I am back on deck every morning, coaching my swimmers. It has made a world of difference to my mood, something that is no only familiar, but something that has long brought me joy. I stand on deck, in the morning sunlight, smiling widely while the swimmers splash away in the pool, lap after lap, everyone so happy and relieved to be back in the water. But it also means I wake up earlier than I have been, and at the end of the day, between coaching and the cohort and all the other work at work and parenting, I am exhausted.
So I don’t write. But I do tend my tomato and strawberry plants, albeit poorly. When the ADHD brain meets the advice to prune, you end up with a naked tomato plant with nothing but stems and tiny green tomatoes that are slowly growing. I’m pretty sure I didn’t kill it. But like everything this year, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
There is a metaphor in there somewhere about how I am feeling.
So I garden now, sort of. I sew now, too. Sort of. The machine was broken and I lost momentum on making a version of my favorite dress that costs over $100 but found a pattern for a dupe online. In true ADHD fashion, I pick up a hobby, get derailed, and end up with a pile of materials that ultimately go nowhere.
My son still plays his video games all day with his friends.
My daughter bakes banana break and the absolute best ginger cookies you have ever tasted in your life. She writes a serial story on an app she also reads every day all the time, and paints on her iPad and on canvases I indulge her to buy. She rejected her pink bookcase, and we ended up buying her a new one, and so she keep redecorating her room over and over and over again.
I am waiting to find out when I can have time to get in the water and swim again. I hope it’s a time when there are few others around because I am out of shape and feeling it acutely and want to swim so I can feel that feeling that I get when I swim, and since I’m not going back to work anytime soon, no one will care that I smell like chlorine or that my hair is a damp disaster.
We found out that we would be able to take a week’s worth of vacation over the summer, and we are planning a trip to the beach. Numbers are spiking, though, and I am starting to worry that this was a foolhardy decision born from a need not only to get away but also to look forward to something. I missed looking forward to something concrete. Not like looking forward to being able to swim again…eventually, but looking forward to something that is going to happen on a timeline that I have some control over.
At worst, we stay in our rental and eat take-out food in a different place, but I want to hear the ocean and feel the sand between my toes, smell the salt-water in the air, have a wave crash over me. I just need something solid to look forward to, a memory I can carry forward with me as we try to navigate our way through the fall, full of uncertainty. There is chaos all around, but for a moment, I stood on the shore, in the water, reminding myself that there are some things that have remained the same.