“I heard you were all sick. Are you feeling better?” my neighbor asked over the short fence which divides her garden from my driveway. It was a beautiful day which invited her to begin clearing her garden beds and made me wish I had time to clear mine.
“We’re still recovering.” I answered. It has become my standard answer, because while it is true to say that we’re better than we were, some of us are still not well. My answer always surprises people. In our world of modern medicine and vaccines, no one is used to seeing an illness take this long to abate. Or maybe that is just brain wiring. It takes three weeks to make a habit, which means that five weeks of illness has lasted so long that sick becomes normal.
Last night I did an hour of angry cleaning. It is the sort of cleaning I do when I want to cry about something else, so I get mad about the state of the house instead. Then I pick up all the things, because then I will have exerted control over at least one aspect of our lives. Just before I cleaned all the things is when it became obvious that Link was not going to be going back to school this morning. He’s entering is fourth week of absence and a part of me despairs if we’ll ever get back on track. But the mix of fatigue, brain fog, ongoing coughing fits, and social anxiety meant that keeping him home was the right thing to do. It wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted him to be well enough so that we could reclaim the normal patterns of our lives. Instead I’m homeschooling using assignments that we collect from teachers in the after school hours.
Then there are the small evidences that I am not tracking as I should, because I’m recovering too. I picked up Patch from school and noticed the ski lift tag on his jacket. That was when I remembered that today was the fifth grade field trip to go skiing. I looked at my son in his light jacket with no gloves and the first thing I asked was whether he’d been warm enough. He was, we were blessed with a beautiful day and he was hot from exertion rather than cold. Further conversation showed that Patch is firmly re-established in his school patterns. He’s back in the swing after missing two weeks. This is good.
The first thing I did this morning was update my to do list. It was all red because everything on it was something I’d planned to do last week, or the week before. So I rescheduled, pushed forward, canceled. I whittled it away until it was only too much, instead of way too much. I know I can’t get it all done, particularly since there is the huge unwritten task of helping Link get on top of his work and normalize his life again. But today I hit the ground running and accomplished an astonishing amount of things. I do not think it is coincidence that I have a very effective day on the day after I put exercise back into my life. So I put exercise into this day too. Because I need a day like this one tomorrow as well.
Kiki called just as I was finishing my exercise walk. She told me all about the communication she has been doing with professors and other administrators at her college. She figured out she wants to go for the more rigorous BFA because it will allow her to focus more tightly on illustration. She’s also found the paperwork she’s going to need to do in order to set up an internship for next summer. As I talked to her I realized that Kiki was also doing a really good job of finessing her mom to make sure she got to arrange her summer the way that she wants to. It was really good to hear the ways that she is taking control of her life and making plans for what comes next.
I’m told it is going to snow tomorrow. That makes me a little sad. The sunshine and fifty degree weather has me feeling like we’re coming out of the long winter of sickness. I would like it to be spring. I’d like to be caught up on all the things and hitting our deadlines instead of endlessly adjusting them. But I’ll take the snow if we can just have a week’s worth of routine work and catch up on all the things.
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