Goodbye November

As December approaches, I continue to tread one breath and one day at a time. That's about all I can handle. I'll wake multiple times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and check to make sure everyone's breathing. Walks with the dog have been my saving grace, moments to quiet my mind as I trek mesmerized by the leaves swing dancing in the autumn breeze before they kiss the path and sail into the softly babbling creek. 

During our Thanksgiving morning trot at the lake, remembering those who have walked these lands before us too as well as those we keep in our hearts, we picked up some twigs for our traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece, where we write our blessings on leaves and hang them on the twigs: N. is thankful for her dog, A. is grateful for health, family and learning, and I am thankful we have flourished wellness- and homeschool-wise this far into the pandemic. Patiently awaiting until it's much more manageable. We've gotten our covid boosters, and N.'s scheduled to get her second vaccine dose next week in hopes for a smooth return to school in person and extra protected in the new year. In the meantime, we've decided to lay low through the holiday season.

while we wonder at the anxieties 
that we confer within us
may we feel compassion
for ourselves and others
most magnificently
in the sweetness 
of our response

To heartful thanksgivings in the year ahead.


Cathartic Awooooo!

Homeschooling has taken over my life even when we've outsourced math to a tutor. After eight weeks, we decided to take advantage of this unique learning time and spend a week in our happy place at the Jersey Shore where we're able to refill our cups and visit with family and friends too while we celebrate A.'s 53 years young. Each of us started to hit a wall of madness regardless of what progress we've been making in our work and new ways of experiencing and learning, each of us taking some opportunity to lash out at the ridiculously everyday mishaps. Practicing fourth grade math, negotiating with a colleague, or obligingly co-leading a girl scout troop. Call it pandemic exhaustion. Tired of having to be super cautious in the simplest of daily tasks. Tired of domestic engineering, including figuring out meals along with lesson plans for the week. Tired of not seeing dearly missed schoolmates. Tired of people not wanting to do what's right for the health of our communities. In the meantime, our nine-year-old patiently awaits her chance at the covid vaccine so that she can protect herself and others against covid and just maybe return to school in person next semester. 

It's not really the homeschooling that has been getting to me. It's more the -- I cannot believe we are still at this and haven't found a way to beat this pandemic quite yet while many have moved on with their lives brazenly participating in indoor recreation and traveling as if nothing's wrong. I realize our personal risk taking comfort levels during the pandemic are ever shifting and dependent on how well we know others and their risk taking behaviors. I know that our family will probably choose to keep safe by continuing to wear masks in public, as well as when we reconnect in social meetups. Who knows what the winter months will bring? 

photo by sonsart
In the meantime, I soak up the autumn sun and shoreside breeze, wade in the warm Gulf Stream water and briny air that urge me to take pause. Hinga . . . humihinga. Deep inhale . . . slow exhale. I remind myself to be grateful that we've healthfully made it this far, and as dusk gives the Hunter's Full Moon a peck, I let out a deeply cathartic heart-howl . . . Awooooo!


Homeschooling Adventures: Here we come!

Like everyone else, I am absolutely exhausted. Mustering up all the energy and courage I have left to move forward in this ongoing pandemic. After attending N.'s school open house once we returned from our August birthday festivities with family in Jersey, we made a tough decision to homeschool until N. is fully vaccinated and has an extra layer of protection. It's the most comfortable choice we could make for our family right now. 

It's not the choice I would have liked to make. In fact, I was hopeful after speaking with N.'s nurse practitioner about her thoughts on full return to school in person. Sadly, the principal's truthful look of desperate defeat in his eyes as we asked about other mitigation strategies in keeping students safe was not convincing enough for us to have confidence in N.'s return as a fourth grader. And so the less fearful for us is to homeschool. I am deeply aware of how privileged we are to see homeschooling as a temporary alternative, and I am grateful. 

Now that we've committed to this educational challenge (I had to formally complete the paperwork to withdraw from our local public school system), my body has been waking me at 5.30am
every morning. I've tried to use this time to center myself -- breathing, praying, and lying in silence as I try to just be in my body and let myself be with whatever I'm feeling at the moment, mostly anxiety coupled with madness along with gratitude. When I'm running errands alone, I have my moments of welling up, giving in to feeling doomed, a chance to decompress, only to shake it off and find something positive such as  . . . While we focus to stay alive during covid, I'm not in the same circumstances as the many Afghan women and girls who struggle to survive or others elsewhere in the world who suffer.

Deep breaths. Thankful that the summer's been good to us. 

Especially for those with young kids, whether you've chosen in person, virtual or homeschool, wishes for a smooth and healthful return to learning.