day ????

(I scheduled this to post 2 weeks ago, but I guess it didn’t?)

Wow, I guess it’s been a while! I’ve been meaning to write, but life is throwing a lot at us these days; I’ve started this post and abandoned it so many times. I have no wise words for the landscape of social and political unrest in the US, and yet, it’s at the forefront of my mind. I’m trying to spend more time listening and amplifying Black voices when I can, rather than adding mine to the mix.

We’re entering week 15 of stay at home, and every day has started to blend together. Our county relaxed the stay-at-home mandate to open non-essential businesses and restaurants a few weeks ago. Our case numbers are tiny overall, but Houlton has a lot of them, so we’re staying cautious.

We are leaving the house more frequently, more like twice a week instead of once, but we wear masks and sometimes gloves. The kids don’t accompany us to stores unless they can stay in the car or outside while we’re there. We’ve socialized a teensy bit with neighbors one on one, but most of the time, we’re at home, together. It’s hard not to feel a little crazy when I see folks going about their business as though the pandemic is over or politicizing the use of basic protective equipment.

On a personally disappointing note, Tim was laid off from his job. We planned for this, but it was still kind of a shock, and happened sooner than we’d hoped. He’s back to being a stay-at-home dad for the foreseeable future, since we don’t know what will happen with the kids’ school in the fall. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the extra padding in our budget, but we’re still incredibly fortunate. Things will work out.

There are bright spots! Ellie learned how to ride a bike this spring. She’s always been overly cautious and not physically adventurous, but a teacher gifted her a hand-me-down bike and she was determined to ride. It only took a day of coasting before she could balance and pedal, and I damn near cried for joy when she did.

(Weird parenting admission: I had no idea how much guilt I felt over the fact that she made it to 11 years old without knowing how to ride a bike until she figured it out.)

That motivated us to purchase an adult trike, and I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a ride down the road and back most days. If we can’t travel this summer, at least we can take in the local scenery.

The other Really Good Thing, and a huge relief, is the kids finished school strong this trimester, with honors and multiple awards for their academic achievements. We celebrated with ice cream sundaes — gourmet style, with alllllll the candy toppings and Ben n’ Jerry’s ice cream — because holy %$&! have the last two months been a slog. I’m looking forward to a few weeks without daily arguments about homework. Now we can argue about fun things — like who ate the last ice-cream sandwich, or chores.

It still hits me once in a while, how weird all of this is. I’m taking vacation next week; we’d originally planned to visit PEI, but that’s off the table due to border crossing restrictions (although we probably wouldn’t have gone even if the borders were open). We did explore some local swimming spots to take advantage of the warmer weather, and the kids have regular daily chores and activities, but “normal” life still feels very much out of reach. The future remains stubbornly up in the air.

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