I had that conversation again. The one where someone pulls me aside, or sends me a private message, and says, “I’m so glad you said it. That thing I felt like I couldn’t say.”
This time it was about social distancing, and being at home with kids while trying to work like normal (whatever THAT is) and figure out their school stuff and feed people something that’s not a frozen pizza for the third night in a row.
What I said, basically, and this is profound so prepare yourself, is that it is hard and I am tired.
I don’t mind saying it out loud, but I understand why people don’t want to. There is a fear, and I am feeling it a bit right now even as I prepare to post this for anyone in the wide world to read, that someone will think you are whiny. Guilt that you ought to be grateful; that you ought to remember that many, many people have it worse.
Those things are true. Purposeful daily gratitudes are a positive, transformative habit, and there are many people in the world in desperate situations that I don’t even want to imagine. I will be grateful, and I will keep on keepin’ on.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not tired, and it isn’t hard. Those things are also true. And we get to say them out loud.
Right now, this very minute, I should have been at the opening night of a writing workshop I have looked forward to for two years. I would have hugged a hundred friends today. I am so sad that I’m not there. Part of me wonders when I’ll next hug anyone that doesn’t live in my house. I am looking forward to the rescheduled event in October, and hoping against hope that this is over and we all get to go. But also, I will grieve this loss.
I haven’t kissed my grandnephew in … a lot of days. I miss him. I see him on FaceTime, and through tightly closed windows when our households exchange supplies in no-contact front-porch drops. I miss the tight, warm mound of his belly under my hand, and the particular peace that comes from holding on your lap a small child who trusts you implicitly.
There are high school seniors everywhere wondering if they’ll get graduation ceremonies. College students who cancelled what would have been the trip of a lifetime. Grandparents who can’t touch their grandchildren, and parents who think this might be the day that their wildly loved, rambunctious, confined offspring push them over the edge.
There are greater sorrows. I could give you a list that would break your heart, just from last week. But these things aren’t nothing, either.
This is hard. We can be grateful, and hopeful, and still mark our griefs.
I am here if you need to share yours.