Covid, Parenting, writing

Week 52: One Year Later

It’s been a year. Whether we should throw up some high fives because we survived or just throw up I’m not sure. I’ve read several reflections on the passing of our one year pandemic anniversary, but I’m not sure I’m ready for any kind of real reflection. I’ve learned that with any significant event, writing about it too soon can be, well, too soon. With some more distance, I think we’ll all have a bit more clarity on the year turned upside down.

That said, it also feels remiss to not at least acknowledge that we’re into our 52nd week of Covid days and Covid nights (which was what I titled my first post almost exactly a year ago). Fifty two weeks. 

A little behind the scenes info you didn’t ask to know but…I wrote that first post in about a twenty minutes. I am not a quick writer. It was the first easy writing I’d done in some time and in the midst of scary days, it was a lifeline.  When it was clear there would be a week two, and likely still more of quarantine, I decided that instead of staring at the dreaded blank page, I’d just continue writing on the same document. I mean, how long could it possibly go on? 

In those first several weeks, when I’d sit down to write, I’d start by regurgitating all the cliches of the moment before I’d finally figure out what I wanted to say. This only came after I’d refocus and remind myself to just write how I was feeling. 

All the cliches are still true —the gratitude and unprecedented-ness, the recognition that things are way worse for someone else, and of course, our kids! During the past 52 weeks, we’ve accumulated more cliches –– the lessons we’ve learned, the silver linings. But I’ll leave those for you to sort out.

My “Covid” doc is now 62 pages long and 24,000ish words. (To be clear, I tend to write a lot in first drafts before I actually say anything worthwhile, so many of the 24,000 words are nonsense). I tell you all this not to brag or bore but because it’s actually the best metaphor for how I’m feeling right now and about this past year.

Parts of my document are a mess. It’s a kaleidoscope of fonts—colors, shapes and sizes. A roller coaster of good and bad writing. Filled with comments to myself and tangents that now seem silly. At times it’s ugly and at times pretty but it goes on. Though I let the weeks stretch between writing, I didn’t stop. Or I thought I might stop when it’s over. But it’s hard to imagine now what will that even look like? The end?

My sprawling document feels purposeful (to me) and personal but is a reminder that it’s not that personal. You’ve all been right there the whole time too. Even when you haven’t, it’s provided me the illusion that there was something to the notion of together, apart.  

Right now I feel like I’m 62 pages and 24,000 words in to a strange book with a long and meandering plot. It feels like the climax has been written but I’ll need to go back to figure out where it is exactly. But we’re definitely at the falling action. Probably.

It feels like we’ve reached the last few chapters where we finally get to relish in the character’s journey. The last ten minutes of the film, where you kind of feel like you could get up and walk out but you stay because what if there is a crazy twist at the end? (Wouldn’t that be fun? Another crazy twist!) Or because like me, you stay because it’s actually not over. It will be. We’re just waiting to see what that will look like.

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