here I dwell
I wake up with Craig in the mornings. It's early, too early, hours before the kids are up, but unless he's running late he makes my coffee, leaving me with a warm cup in a quiet house, and for that I hand over sleep gladly. It's a small mercy in a season that is swallowing me whole. It's challenging to parent kids in such wildly different developmental spaces while living on a pandemic made island. The wants and needs on either side of an 8 year age gap so often run in conflict with one another. And while the kids don't seem particularly burdened by any of it I'm often left wondering, in trying to land the middle ground between a toddler and a near pre-teen, is everyone being shortchanged?
On weekdays I pipe The Daily through the speakers of Gus's radio while I make the kids breakfast. Connecting to something beyond our noisy little world is a sort of balm in this sometimes Groundhog's Day existence. While I flip eggs, Nora runs around screaming bah-nan-nah!, banana in hand; Gus curls up by the fire to read or peppers me with his clever questions or joins his sister in screaming bah-nan-nah! (She really knows how to hype a crowd.) The kids are all right, happy even I think. I suppose to parent is to wrestle with your efforts no matter the state of your charges, particularly as the tougher terrain of the journey is navigated, and right here, right now- tougher terrain indeed.
For much of 2020 I tumbled through space, emotionally ricocheting from one thing to the next. Reeling from an endless stream of breaking news, grieving the collective losses, navigating isolation and the great and powerful missing. In this new year though I've tried to take root in taking care wherever I can. A million tiny endeavors thrown at the feet of well-being. I made small adjustments to the way I feed myself and my family, and we're all sleeping better and feeling more energized for it, though further energizing my children has sometimes felt ill-advised at best. I canceled the streaming services that we slowly accumulated over the course of staying home since last spring, and after a flurry of making over the holidays, I've leaned into the stillness of reading. I've chosen a few things I'd like to study this year- Montessori pedagogy for early childhood (perhaps a better fit for Nora than Waldorf) and Pagan holidays. It feels good to be a student, not just the teacher. None of this changes much of the larger reality- that the pandemic rages on, that we deeply miss our friends and family and all the rich seasonal mores of rural living in Maine, that the burden of parenting and homeschooling through this experience largely falls on me, that I am utterly exhausted -but I think it's worth the effort to make ourselves a home of comfort and care however we can wherever we dwell, and here- here I dwell.
And finally, a better look at those pants.