Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Things I Miss

I miss the gym, especially the camaraderie of doing the group fitness classes.  Of sweating and seeing other people sweat and feeling like a rockstar for a brief moment when the class is done.  I miss running on a treadmill and people watching and seeing my "gym" friends - people that hadn't necessarily crossed over into social friends.  When this all ends, I'm going to make that happen.

I miss driving.  Obviously I can still drive, but there isn't really anywhere to go except the grocery store.  I miss driving downtown to do my mediations - with traffic, it was usually a 45 minute drive.  I would listen to music the whole time and sing loudly and zone out and think about things.  I miss waiting in the carpool line at school - that 25 minute forced solo time where I would play on my phone or call a friend or listen to more music.  If I got there early enough, I could position myself at the front of the line and spy on the kids playing on the playground, occasionally finding one of my own children.  I loved getting that brief secret view into their lives, when they didn't know I was watching.

I miss concerts.  A few weeks before lockdown, I went to a White Ford Bronco show - it's a DC based band that plays 90's music.  I went with a group of 6 or so, three of my best friends and two of my oldest friends and my sister.  I knew every single word to every song.  When they played "I Would Walk 500 Miles" by the Proclaimers, I jumped up and down and legit peed my pants.  It was a result of too much to drink and a lack of bladder control after birthing three children.  The next day we all laughed about it on a group text chain and made plans to go to another show in April, that wasn't to be.

I miss shuffling my kids to all of their various activities.  I would often complain about our Saturdays, how my husband and I would have to divide and conquer and even at times get a babysitter to get the kids to where they needed to be - band performances and basketball games and soccer games and rock climbing.  The truth is though, I liked being busy.  I liked watching my kids have fun with their friends.  I liked catching up with the other parents.  I liked feeling like part of a community.

I miss childcare.  Specifically, I miss Michele - I call her a babysitter, but really she's a member of our family.  She has been watching my kids since Colin was born, six and a half years ago, and my kids ask for her daily.  I joke at times that they like her better than me, and perhaps they do - she engages with them in a way that I don't often do myself- playing board games with them, getting on the floor with them, really being present.  Way back when I started this blog, I wrote about Betty, my childhood nanny who I still love and adore.  I always wanted to find a "Betty" for my kids, and somehow, by some miracle, I did.  I know Michele will be in our lives for the long haul.  But in the meantime, the kids miss her desperately.  So do I.

I miss plans.  People that know me often joke that I'm always over scheduled - I have weekend plans filled up for months out.  But that's just how I roll - I love having things to look forward to and having game nights and making hard to get dinner reservations and planning trips.  Oh, how I love planning trips.  We were supposed to be in Japan at the end of March - a trip that had been in the works for years.  We were supposed to go to Cape Cod for the summer.  We were supposed to go to Spain (sans kids) in October.  Maybe some of these trips will happen?  I don't know.  I'm not counting on it.

I miss my innocence.  On March 11, three friends and I took an Amtrak up to Manhattan to see the taping of a podcast with Andy Borowitz and Alec Baldwin.  About two hours into the trip, the show was cancelled.  We were annoyed, but still determined to have a fun night, and we did.  We went to dinner and a piano bar and stayed up way too late, making for a painful early morning train back to DC the next day.  On the morning of March 13, I went to yoga.  A few hours later, I got an email that my kids' school would be closed the following two weeks.  The shit storm had begun.

I miss my kids' innocence.  For the first couple of weeks, I think the kids looked at this as spring break.  They sat on their iPads and watched a bunch of TV and seemed to be oblivious to the world collapsing outside of our house.  But then distance learning started, and they realized something was different.  And wrong.  And the tears started.  The questions.  The anxiety.  There is no doubt that this global event will have an impact on their lives, and there's not much I can do about that. And I hate that.  I hate it so much.

I miss my friends.  I miss them so much it hurts.  I know how lucky I am to be with my family right now, to have them here and healthy and be safe.  But it's not enough.  I never realized how much I rely on my friends for happiness until now.  And maybe that's not healthy?  Who knows. But I want to see my friends and embrace them so tight and run away somewhere for a weekend.  I want to get drunk and reminisce and cry happy tears that this is all over.  I've been a zoom slut as of late, jumping from zoom to zoom (and once again, over scheduling myself), and that helps.  But it's not enough.  There's something about physical presence - some energy that you get from others - that just doesn't translate through a computer screen.

When this is over, I want to throw a party.  A huge party.  In our backyard.  With a DJ and catering and the whole bit.  I want all of my favorite people to be there.  I want to fly people in.  I want to celebrate freedom of movement and people being together in the same space.  I want to grab everyone and hug them a little longer than would otherwise be socially acceptable.

I want to dance and pee my pants.

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