I’m a fraud.
I admit it. An utter and complete fraud.
I act sunshine-y and tell my kids that the glass is half full, but the truth is … It’s half-empty AND has backwash in it. I tell them not to compare themselves to other people, but I do it. A friend just called me out on that the other day.
Along those same lines, I talked a good game about COVID living. At first.
I said that it’s a chance for us to learn to be flexible and resilient because this is the kind of adversity that ends up making us stronger. I also said that there was no point in getting upset or wondering ‘what if’ because this pandemic was and is entirely out of our control. But, I’m mad. Like, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos mad. And sad. So incredibly sad.
It’s been a long five months.
I don’t feel bad for myself. Well, I do a little. I miss the way things used to be, hugging friends, meeting up for lunch, leisurely strolling through the aisles of Target and Trader Joe’s and hitting the annual sales at my favorite local stores. I miss non-leisurewear clothing and wearing actual shoes instead of scuffing around in slippers. And haircuts. I miss those so much.
I feel worse for all those who got sick and those who lost loved ones to this insidious virus. I feel sad for the families unable to get together for Saturday dinner. I feel the worst, though, for my kids — and all the kids. They’re missing out the most.
The other day, we were sitting around the table and No. 3 said, “I wish this had happened in second grade. Then it wouldn’t have mattered. You’re not missing anything in second grade.”
But, you are.
Second-grade No. 3 would have been sad about missing soccer and seeing his friends. If this had happened seven years ago, No. 2 was in the fifth grade and No. 1 was in the thick of middle school. They all would have been missing something — their mother. I guarantee I could not have worked and parented three kids in online school and maintained my sanity.
Instead this pandemic hit when No. 1, in her second year of college, was preparing for a study abroad program in Rome. That was pretty brutal. No. 2 lost the last half of her senior year and prom and an honest-to-goodness, walk-across-a-stage graduation. Now she’s in limbo while the internship program she was accepted into — and takes place at a local hospital — tries to reconfigure itself. She was so excited about it, and now we just wait, hoping it will still happen.
As for No. 3, his situation weighs on me the most. It’s too heavy.
This is his sophomore year at a new school. He was so excited about summer basketball and acquainting himself with a new team and program. Those hopes were quickly dashed. Then, he said he was excited for fall. That hope faded, too. The other day he said, “I’m just looking forward to next year. Junior year, that’s going to be great.”
Junior year. He’s writing off an entire year. That gutted me.
He’s not a dweller. Never has been. But then, he doesn’t need to be — that’s what I’m for. He’s always been one to roll with things, and I love his optimism and how he looks ahead. As a parent, it’s counterintuitive to wish for time to speed by because high school, especially, goes by in a blink. Still, I’m looking ahead, too, and I know we’re supposed to savor each day, but I sure as hell can’t wait for when this is all just a distant memory and we can be normal again — even if normal means sitting in the car four nights a week for 40 minutes, waiting for club basketball practice to finally wrap up. I actually miss that.