I started this pandemic the same way everyone else did. Well, obvs not everybody. I mean, I never ranted about wearing a face mask or crazily demanded my right to get a haircut but hey, ‘merica. Like many, I settled in for the long haul and tried to let go of the things that were entirely out of my control. I bid adieu to my colleagues, embraced the return of my college kids and (the worst) said sayonara to my shoes. I stayed-in-place like a good little girl scout and stopped caring about a lot (A. LOT.) of stuff.
Instead, I decided to use this quarantine time to reset. From the get-go I committed to focus on two things: gratitude and improvement. I wanted to see a difference in myself when this was all over and (well, have we met?) sure, make a splash and pop out of a cake at the end of it a better, greater version of Me. Skinnier, blonder, vegan? Who knows, but, dammit, I was going to be ready for my before-and-after close-up when this was behind me.
Well this long haul has turned into a Saturday night Easter vigil mass with four children in tow (ever been to one? Here, little nine-year-old, hold this lit candle for … awhile… GAH, only once friends, only once) – in other words, no end in sight — so here we are.
Since this pandemic is so very far from being over I decided to document a quick update.
I am currently in my fifth month of working from home and (plot twist) am neither blonde nor thin and if you know me (#bacon) will never, ever be vegan.
But I think I am better.
For starters, I haven’t faltered from feeling grateful. I’ve been grateful since Day One, if solely for bypassing that Nightmare that was Homeschool. Holymotherofgod did I dodge a bullet there. Not a day has gone by when I haven’t thought about the remarkable teachers and parents forced to reinvent the education system as we know it and whispered thanks daily for escaping that terrifying ordeal. God bless you all who did the homeschooling thing.
I was grateful for my job, my family’s health, my abundance of leggings (thanks, Steph) and my secret love of being a homebody. Sheesh, I could’ve written that viral piece of Gen X/1980s kids thriving in the seclusion of a pandemic. Stay at home? Keep yourself entertained? All the time? Joke’s on you, life: been there, crushed that. I was all in. Our nightly family dinners returned. My kids were, well, around more. Life became simpler.
Gratitude was a breeze.
So I got busy improving.
I stopped bothering with make-up and started reading — more books than I’d read in the past five years.
I stopped cutting my bangs (sorry, Marie Osmond, you’re left to carry the torch for our 50+ cohort) and started wearing Birkenstocks (I know, right? Ladies, lock up your husbands).
I stopped mindlessly checking my phone and started doing more crossword puzzles (but yes, fkkk those Friday ones. I threw the damn book away when those were all that was left and switched to another).
I stopped driving (once a week only, for groceries) and started walking 10,000 steps a day. When that became normal I shot for 15. Then 20 (again, still not any thinner so wtf but *sighs* we don’t have time to unpack that).
As the world’s pandemic fears morphed into a global awakening to racist injustice I committed to becoming more educated and turned to the people I admire most in the world for guidance: my kids.
I began listening to what they were listening to. Started reading what they were reading. Started watching what they watched (not entirely true. I will never watch that Avatar cartoon no matter how good it may be).
The podcasts getting me through my monotonous daily paces turned political, and I switched from true crime to Trevor Noah. And Pod Save America. And the NYT’s The Daily.
On television the void following my obsessive Outlander binge (oy! 5 seasons start to finish! Droughtlander here I am!), suddenly filled with Netflix documentaries. Stunned to my core by the appalling injustice of 13th, I was equally stirred by the peace depicted in Woodstock. The parallel themes of countercultures triggering dramatic change are an eerie nod to our present day cultural discord.
I wandered from the once-fluffy, now-fanatical Facebook and found my way back to Twitter and Instagram, where I started following educated and interesting people that have opened my eyes enormously. (No offense Facebook but you have become the Vortex of Aging Negativity and while you were fun for a while and I do still enjoy seeing the lives of my real (not faux) friends … let’s say there’s a reason the young people never really climbed aboard.
When the shocking behaviors of the country’s racist, caught-on-camera Karens started turning my stomach, I became obsessed with the Internet Detectives, the online superheroes who deftly and immediately expose each atrocious offender by publicly posting their names, addresses, license plates…. (I fanatically love this and cannot lie).
So sure, I’ve been ballin’ but my personal eat-pray-love renaissance hasn’t been all meditative serenity and yoga poses. Please. Far from it. With a son working as an EMT, there’s been a steady stream of mom-worry. I miss him. Also, we were hardly immune to the economic pitfalls brought on by Covid and still find ourselves running in place trying to grapple with financial stress and uncertainty.
Our home, put up for sale shortly before the lockdowns commenced, still sits on the market. While we once dreamed of downsizing, our new normal has flipped the switch on that idea; the oversized house we felt lost in not so long ago is now filled with people on computers all day long. We’ve found ourselves in a perpetual state of pause.
Employment was lost. Worse, it was lost a few months after the quarantines took effect, which means not only were we thrust into an already overloaded, log-jammed system that is excruciatingly flawed but (wait! there’s more!) the “bonus” pandemic money is now used up so ….cool, right? My business-owner friend couldn’t get her teenage employees to return to work because they were making a killing on unemployment. I’m super glad all the kids are making more money than they’ve ever seen in their short lives because fun fact: we haven’t seen a dime yet. If I did have bangs they’d probably be silver sooo….
Truth, it really (REALLY) sucks but even still, I remain grateful.
We flew our daughter back for a couple of weeks to work from our home (hey, come join us so you, too can complain about the internet!) and we hunkered down some more as an even bigger family.
We’ve been drinking wine, playing games, listening to Hamilton, watching John Mulaney stand-up and just being.
Just being a family.
And it’s been real nice.
What will you remember most about when the world changed?
We remember where we watched the OJ chase.
We recall exactly where we were when the towers fell.
And we’ll all know precisely who we focused on when Covid came to town. The President? Governor? Fauchi? Kimmel?
I was watching my kids.
During this ultimate gift of time I’d be a fool not to.
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.
Missed the start of A Momoir? Catch up here:
Chapter 2, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/
Chapter 3, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/
Chapter 5, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/04/20/a-momoir-chapter-5-the-magnitude-of-the-middle-aged-mom/
Chapter 10: Click here: A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations
Chapter 12: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/03/17/a-momoir-chapter-12-when-a-teen-up-leaves/