- This is one of my busiest times of year and this year is no different. It’s Wednesday and I’m tired. Good news is that unlike in “normal times,” I don’t have to work this weekend.
- In my weekly efforts to step up my self-care game, I ordered a fancy bath pillow today. I also received an order I made from an Black woman-owned CBD shop in Oregon. I ordered a new face mask, and several bath bombs. Confession: my love of bath bombs might be getting out of control. I think I’ve got handmade ones from at least two companies and some commercial ones from 3 different companies. I love them, especially the fizzy ones. Anyway, I later this month I’m planning a candle binge.
- Hope is hanging in there. It remains hard to get her up and functional sometimes. I’m still creating midweek errands for her to run so that she has to get up, put on real clothes, fluff her hair and get some fresh air. I’m doing a lot of crocheting for family and friends, and so I maker her got to the post office.
- The night terrors continue; though they do not seem as persistent as they were a few weeks ago. There was a particularly bad one last week, but since then, there’s only been one other super dramatic ones. The others she seems to be gaining the ability to navigate better.
- I’m thinking of enrolling us in foreign language classes. Lord knows I don’t need anything else to do, but I miss learning just for learning’s sake and not for work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work learning, but I could use something else for balance. Hope has a knack for language and is back on watching Asian movies and soaps. I asked if she would be interested and she said yes; whether that turns into something remains to be seen.
- I get my first vaccine dose on Friday. I am excited! It’s like one step closer to some sense of normalcy. When I got the email to schedule I could not click the link fast enough! Yes, yes, yes! My mom is hoping I get the new Johnson and Johnson one so that I”d be one and done. That would be awesome, but I’m just happy to have an appointment and to be pushing forward.
- Hope and I still haven’t found a show to watch together. Our interests are so different. When we’re picking something completely new, I try to pick things neither of us would bother watching on our own. I’ve gotten on some interesting shows thanks to the SO, but nothing that I think Hope would appreciate yet. We do spend time together in the evening. We watch something on network, show each other dumb stuff on our phones, talk and cuddle Yappy.
- Hope and I had an rough moment last week when she missed her therapy appointment. Slept right through it. That’a after I got her up and hour early and got something to eat. When I got the text from AbsurdlyHotTherapist that she missed the appointment and I was going to have to pony up full cost, I practically flew to Hope’s room. She wasn’t particularly remorseful, blamed her phone alarm clock that she always sleeps though and then brushed it off. I had to really break it down to her that missing two appointments really cuts into the household budget (technically it’s more than we would spend if we did Ubereats every week for 2+ months); prevents other folks who really need Dr. O from getting an appointment and is some BS when she insists on not taking responsibility when she knows that she sleeps through an alarm on her phone. I’ve bought her at least 3 alarm clocks over the years–don’t ask where they are or what happened. I told her she needed to come up with a sure thing solution because this is a problem. I”m recommending that she do a dry run tonight to make sure her solution works. We’ll see.
- Hope and I have also been having more grown woman talks lately. It’s been interesting to her her view of the world, and forcing back a snark because I too thought I knew the world at 19. It is sad to be lonely, to have chosen someone unworthy of you, to be caught in a pandemic with your mom, and to think you’ll never find love. I get it kid, and I wish I could definitively say that dating wasn’t a raging dumpster fire, but well, it is what it is. I do marvel that I seem to have created the sex positive household I dreamed about. Hope is knowledgeable, able to handle her business, and can make informed decisions. Of course no one said they’d be great decisions, she’s 19 after all. But I know I made the right move because she will legit ask me anything. I’d rather have a moment with my own discomfort than for her not to consider me a safe person to talk to. #winning.
- I really live for the weekends. Lazy days, luxurious bath and weekend food. We get pizza or takeout and/or graze on the weekends. There are so few things that give us a sense of freedom. I thin I”m getting good of ritualizing the weekends. I think that’s a good thing.
- I also really missing my commuting time in the car. I listened to what I want, even if it was nothing. I enjoyed the the bright distinction between work and homes, and I appreciated the hour it took to create that space for me. Yep, Ive finally sunk to missing traffic.
Tag Archives: african american families
Merry Christmas folks.
I know I have stopped writing as frequently. I hope to really embrace writing again in 2021, but this year my brain was already at max cap.
Anyhoo, we are surviving. Some days are better than others, and this time of year can be emotionally challenging during regular times. I have enjoyed a lot of downtime this week and still have another week off. I really needed this time, and Hope has needed me with fewer distractions.
So about this robe… About 5 years ago we were picking up some things at Walmart. Hope spotted these robes and beelined to them. She played in the racks; she rubbed the robes on her face. She begged for me to buy her one.
I scrunched up my nose. This robe was cheap velour with a front zipper and a nehro collar.
In short, it was your grandma’s winter house coat. I was like, “Um that’s kinda old for you. It’s kinda a granny robe.”
Hope saw something different.
She saw luxury.
She saw comfort.
She saw functionality.
So, I bought her one. And she loved it. She’s asked and received a new one every Christmas since. Two years ago, she was so delighted, she slept in it on Christmas Eve.
This year, none of the local stores carried the robe. I snagged one on the website. As it does every year, the new baby blue version has brought her immense joy.
Shared with her permission and urging… Because she’s proud of her granny robe. Her college friends even *call* her Granny! It’s a whole persona.
She’s already posted on her own socials. I’m amused that at 19 she still loves this robe so much. It’s very much become a part of our holiday tradition!
Now we’re watching The Christmas Story–the Muppets version. 😂😂 #mychoice #ihatemusicals #butlovemuppets
Have a great holiday for those who observe and for those who do not, may your take out be delicious! ❤️
I live for rest time on the weekends. The number of Zoom meetings I have during the week exhausts me. By Friday evening I just want to go to bed immediately after logging off.
These days the second shift really starts after work as I try to help Hope work towards some sense of normalcy after the summer drama. I try to spend a few hours of quality time with her and try to get her up and around a bit. It’s not easy, but we’re getting better at achieving a few small goals everyday.
This weekend I was determined to get us up and out to enjoy the gorgeous 80 degree days. Yesterday I got us up and out to visit a farm to do some good shopping: fresh pressed cider, apples, tomatoes, honey, and jams. Then we got Whole Paycheck for a sorbet Hope had been wanting to try. Then we headed home to watch Lucifer on Netflix while I made a dog sweater for a colleague.
We celebrated the election results, and enjoyed a special moment watching VP-elect Kamala Harris give her speech. Gotta say, watching that speech with my daughter was something I will never forget. For me it was reminescent of Obama’s first term and all the emotions I felt then.
Today I’ve been up since about 3:30am when Hope’s early morning insomnia antics disturbed my sleep. Since then I’ve been on the move, cooking, cleaning, bathing Yappy, finishing the dog sweater, returning Amazon items, shopping for new sheets, meal planning, reworking a slide deck for a workshop I’m conducting tomorrow, cleaning the kitchen a second time, and do on and so on.
I’m finally sitting, noshing on some reheated chicken fingers, thinking about just crawling into bed. I’m so exhausted.
And tomorrow, the rat race starts all over. I’m taking some time off later this month and a couple of weeks next month. Of course that means nothing tonight. This adulting thing is so dang hard.
Yesterday, on the long back from the farm, Hope asked me what were the top 5 things about being an adult… That weren’t material. It was one of the best and most challenging questions she’s ever asked. I talked about learning about myself, learning to be authentic, the joy of constantly learning, the freedom to do most of what I want with little consequence, and then Grammy called and I was spared from coming up with the final reason.
The exercise really did make me think hard about my own life and how I want to encourage Hope to keep pushing forward. Adulting is hella hard; it’s great but it’s really hard. Hope sees that and her first brushes with adulting have made her rethink independence all together. I low-key don’t blame her some days.
This is another busy week ahead, another week of adulting and another week of nudging Hope towards the same. Wish us luck
I’m struggling to find time to write these days. I’m still working like a madwoman. Today was a 12 hour day. Evenings and weekends, I’m totally vegging.
Hope has not one but TWO jobs. She’s tired and thriving. I’m really proud of her; her transformation from human sloth to working woman is kinda head spinning. She was recognized for her stellar performance after just two weeks at her first job. She was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of her first paycheck; fortunately she has created her own savings plan. She also has picked up a few groceries and filled the had tank–unasked!!! (I did reimburse her.) Hope has always been a good kid, but watching her these last few months has honestly been the most delightful.
Hope being out at work also means that I have some of the home alone time I crave. I have treasured my time with Hope during the pandemic, but we could stand some time apart. Of course, that’s complicated too. With the ongoing unrest and law enforcement continuing to use excessive force even with all of the heightened scrutiny, I worry about her getting to and from work safely. And well, there’s still a pandemic going on. 🙄🙄🙄
Unironically, I’m realizing that if she ever goes back to college, I might have to go through empty nest feelings again. Her college is planning on opening as usual; I’m not convinced that they will though. I guess we’ll see.
I’m crocheting another blanket. I’m currently watching The Great on Hulu (It’s just ok. I like my historical dramas to have a bit more accuracy.) I spend a lot of time on my patio in my zero gravity chair; it’s my favorite place from spring until fall (I have been known to put on my goose down and plop on the patio in the dead of winter). I’m trying to hold on a few weeks until my summer vacation. I’m kinda bitter that the pandemic means no beach this year.
I’m better this week, but I’m really tired. But I’m better. And Hope is doing so very well that it gives me hope that everything will be ok.
So, Hope and I are back to our Pandemic Normal. I’m finally feeling fully recovered and Hope has finished her first year of college (amazeballs). Now we’re trying to chart out our summer.
Due to a variety of absurd reasons, Hope was unable to register for the first session of summer school (she’s nearly 19 but they still wanted a form from a legal guardian). So, we had to do a hard pivot—it is time for Hope to find a job. I told her that she needed to find creative ways of volunteering if she couldn’t find a paying job. I was ready for her to consider doing UberEats and/or do shopping for some of the older residents in our building. She spent yesterday morning hunting for and putting in applications at grocery stores and fast food places.
Honestly, given how trash the economy is, I didn’t think that she would really find a job. I realized on my morning walk this morning that the universe has other plans for Hope for the summer. In a single day she was able to set up a couple of interviews for this week, one of which has already sent her the onboarding information. Clearly, schoolwork isn’t what was supposed to happen this summer.
I’m excited for Hope and this new experience she’s going to have this summer.
Our relationship has changed so much these last two months, and honestly, the relationship we have now is kinda what I’ve been chasing all these years. We have our own inside jokes. We have deep philosophical conversations. With both of us at home, Hope is able to get a much better sense of how I hard I work, and I think she is much more understanding of why I get pissed when she’s particularly lazy or entitled. I get to see her habits and how she works; I can see better what coping mechanisms really work for her and what things she probably still needs to work on. I think we both have a lot more patience with one another; there’s just a lot more grace and a lot more understanding.
In many ways, I’m grateful for this time with her even if I did wish she would just spontaneously clean the kitchen without me asking her.
And me? Well, I’m learning to crochet. I’ve resumes my exercise efforts. I can’t handle a lot of intensity these days, so I make up for that with more workout time. I’m reminded that I have a gym membership for when the weather is bad, and cold isn’t bad weather. I still would rather bundle up and go walk a couple of miles. I bake bread a few days a week because it’s so yummy, and I enjoy cooking a real dinner for us a few days a week. (By the way since it’s become so hard to get bread flour at the store, I now get it from a local bakery and it’s AMAZING!) I have started a daily habit of trying to find beauty when I take my multiple walks throughout the day. I try to post the pictures on my private social media accounts.
I’ve zeroed in on my skin routine; during a recent video call with my sister, my brother in law even commented on my skin. I’m transition to more natural deodorants because this seems like as good a time as any to do that—when I’m around just 1 other person! LOL. I get enough sleep each night which has radically changed my outlook on a lot of things. It’s really amazing how tired we all are when the world is “open.” I’m increasingly convinced that we’re all just overstimulated. I luxuriate on the weekend because after I make the grocery run, I can chill. I bought a zero-gravity chair and Yappy and I hit the balcony when the weather is nice. It’s nice to be rested.
Yappy is also doing well. He gets way too many treats and is gaining weight. I worry about how anxious he will be when I finally return to the office, but for now, he seems incredibly content to have his pack all in one place. He seems to be at his happiest when we take a walk as a family in the evenings. It’s a delight to watch him, and it’s comforting to cuddle with him.
In all, Hope and I are doing better than ok these days. We are still wary of the world opening back up, fully aware of the dangers that await but also relishing in this special time together. I’m realizing that if Hope doesn’t boomerang home, this might actually be the last substantial period of time when we live together. I think of that often, and I let it guide my engagements with her. It’s not that I want her to boomerang home; I hope she is able to take flight. But if she does come back I want to be sure that we have a new baseline of what our life can be like with a mother and her adult daughter living together.
Of course, that’s in the middle of a pandemic, but I still hope it will create a reference point for whatever might be necessary in the future.
But for now, Hope and I are enjoying each other and getting a window into each other’s lives in ways we didn’t pre-pandemic.
Another Friday, at least that’s what they say. Technically this is my 4th week teleworking, but I have not been into the office for about 6 weeks when you include my annual conference and the transition week when I was already able to work from home.
It’s already been a long time, and it doesn’t seem that any transition to whatever the new normal will be is a long way off. So this is normal for now.
But, it’s not.
Last weekend, I began coughing. Then the body aches started, then the queasiness, followed by the body aches and tight chest. Fortunately, I was spared a fever. That came later.
By Monday, I was unnerved and called my primary care doc as soon as the office opened. Within an hour I had a telemedicine call to discuss all this.
That’s when I became a “suspected” case of COVID-19. I was told that testing for confirmation would take about a week—so much for the rapid tests folks are talking about. I looked good and seemed to be managing, so we would hold off on testing for now, especially since there really isn’t a treatment for COVID-19. Symptoms are treated and other than that, it’s a virus and we just have to wait it out.
The other advice? Quarantine.
As of today, I have 9 more days of quarantine.
My symptoms persist but haven’t worsened. I’ve only had one fever and it broke pretty quickly so that was great news.
I’m in limbo, locked down like a case, but not sure if I’m really a case. I could demand a test of course and I’ve though about doing that because so many Black and brown folks are disproportionately sick and dying of this virus. I want to be counted if someting were to happen to me. Seeking confirmation seems as much a political act as a medical one. I consider demanding the test daily while also wondering if it really matters. (I know it does.)
I continued to work this week. Taking breaks when the fatigue or malaise was bad. Fortunately, I do not have a persistent fever. It comes and goes and has been low-grade at best. Otherwise, I’m ok. My therapist was a bit concerned at first about my lack of emotion about this. It’s not so much a lack of emotion as…a sense of overwhelm, a sense of apprehension about the days ahead and an odd sense of relief. No one wants this, but if you have to get it, what seems to be a mild case is preferred. So, I feel…lucky, blessed. I could be sicker, much sicker.
Of course, with 9 more days of quarantine I could get sicker, but I am optimistic that will not happen. #positivevibes
And what about Hope?
Well, I really worried at first.
That’s a whole lie. I worry incessantly about Hope. She lost a parent years ago. I am hopeful she doesn’t have that experience again for many, many years.
It took a couple of days for her to grasp this family development. After the first day, it became quite clear that a full quarantine—in my room for the full 14 days—was not possible. Hope could hold the fort for a couple of days, but really, she is not ready or capable to hold it down for two weeks.
I have had to remind her how important it is to constantly clean (she still doesn’t), how important it is that we try to eat healthy (what’s that?), how she has to walk Yappy often enough and long enough so that he can do all of his business (she doesn’t so he doesn’t—poor pup when more than 24 hours without pooping) and generally how serious this is. She potentially could also be positive, so we have to monitor her for symptoms as well.
She does help me with the respiratory exercises I need to do a few times a day. And she helped me cook dinner a few days ago. But, beyond that…nada.
I found myself getting up super early this morning, gowning up, covering everything and taking the dog out before the world got up so that I could walk him long enough to get him to do his business. I know that is not ok, but Yappy is starting to exhibit OCD behaviors due to stress and anxiety. I have a limited a amount of bandwidth and dealing with a poop-less, stressed-out dog on top of everything else is currently beyond my capacity.
I know that Hope is dealing with this in her own way; I’m trying to give her some space and grace. At same time tho, I need her help to get through this. I can’t help but think of the myriad of possibilities and what might happen if she really, really has to step up.
Do I believe she will and can?
What happens if she won’t or can’t?
What happens to me?
In some ways it feels like a great reckoning. I know Hope is less mature than her age; I also know that sometimes she can rise to the occasion in ways that shock me. But I never know if I can expect that or if it’s always going to be a surprise. The challenge is that now that my life might be on the line, do I trust Hope to look out for me?
It hurts me to say I don’t know, but the truth is that *I don’t know.*
So, here we are: In quarantine, living a sliver of the nightmare and the blessing.
I’m a suspected case of COVID-19 with relatively minor symptoms.
That’s it, that’s the nightmare and the blessing.
Way, way, way back in the day, I told my parents that I wanted to go party at another university for the weekend. I didn’t ask; I informed them.
They said no, I couldn’t go.
Nonplussed, I hopped in someone’s car and off my friends and I went to a university two hours away where I had all the fun to be had.
Back then “daisy dukes” (short shorts) were really in and I found a pair that “fit.” I was really proud of these shorts because I have some lovely thighs that usually made such shorts a no go for me. I recall sporting these shorts around my parents house one weekend when I was home from college. My dad, who is quite proper, commented on the shorts and asked me not to wear them anymore because he thought they were inappropriate.
I replied that I wouldn’t wear them in his home anymore.
He narrowed his eyes at me a bit, but said nothing.
I was in that gray area of life where I was still dependent, but I was also an adult and flexing about making some adult decisions like where I would party and what I would wear. I don’t recall asking for permission much during those days. I remember feeling so good about the increasing freedom I had to do what I wanted.
Fast forward many years and now I have a daughter of my own in college. I assumed that she would flex a bit.
For the most part, she hasn’t. In fact, she discloses WAY too much about what shenanigans she been up to. And before you say, oh she’s not telling you everything….even if that were true, she still has shared too much.
She also asks for permission.
Recently her favorite band announced that there would be a concert in the area this summer. She rang me up to ask if she could go if she saved the money.
My internal monologue was like, “If you plan to save up for the ticket, why are you even asking????” Out loud, I simply said, “Sure, save up your dollars and have fun.”
It’s in these moments that I’m reminded of the challenges Hope has endured.
When Hope’s social worker flew with her to visit me the first time, she shared that Hope was emotionally only about 5, despite a chronological age of 12. She’s grown so much in the years since then, but as for maturity….well, Hope has certainly matured, but is she emotionally 18?
Hope is able to mimic maturity for short bursts, but eventually it all comes out. If I had to guess, I would estimate an emotional age of 14 or so. This would explain why she gets along so well with my 11 year old nephew and also has a whole lot of difficulty navigating socially with her own peer group.
This is also why my beautiful daughter called me from her college dorm to ask me if she could spend her own money on a concert ticket and actually go to said concert.
At her age, if I did ask, I didn’t have any difficulty openly defying my folks because I reasoned that I…was…
Hope is still very much my little girl. Which is kind of crazy to me. When I adopted a 12 year old, I never thought I would be tucking her in at night, reading her stories, buying her *white* tights to wear (she picked them while I screamed on the inside) or numerous other things that I thought were completely fixed to children much younger than 12. There were many moments that I treasure the connection forged in those moments while hating that Hope needed it because she was so deeply hurt.
It scares me, though. If Hope is really 14 and away at college…
*pauses to reflect more on my own collegiate shenanigans*
This could be a hot mess.
I know she is more vulnerable. She is so eager to make friends that she is at risk for manipulation. She’s often so lonely which only drives the risk and vulnerability up higher.
In the midst of my persistent amusement at Hope’s attempts to begin adulting, I’m saddened that once again her trauma puts her in such a predicament. I’m angry about it. I’m frustrated for her.
I’m hopeful that 2020 will bring advancements in her healing that will bring her closer to her chronological age and all the joys that come with it.
I have reached the age where it is not terribly uncommon that my peers are having strokes, heart attacks, cancer, body part replacement, and major illnesses requiring longer recovery times. I’ve also reached the age where some of us don’t make it; we succumb to our ailments.
Realizing that you are in this phase of life and that it will never subside, nay that it will actually get worse as you age, is a bit disorienting. I still see my friends through the lens of our prime. I see us as young, wandering the streets of Adams Morgan in DC on the weekends, having Jacks and cokes with a giant slice of pizza after the clubs close and before we head home to sleep it off so we can do it again the next night.
I notice our gray hairs; I wave at our children and marvel at how much they’ve grown. We all aren’t as slim as we used to be, but we’re still young at heart and fly in spirit.
Our parents are aging, even if we are in denial about our own aging process. Some of our parents are dying and leaving us behind to ponder what to do without them.
I began thinking about my own mortality right around the age of 30 when a close friend died very suddenly due to a brain aneurysm. He had just moved into a custom built home with his girlfriend. He was dead about 4 days after moving in. I was devastated. We were young. We were finally getting serious about life. Friends were marrying, having kids. I had just bought my own home a couple of years before. The loss left a huge hole in our friend group that was so hard to recover from.
Fast forward nearly 20 years and I am still thinking about mortality. The only difference is that I also think about grief so much more now. I’ve had to learn a lot about grief since becoming Hope’s mother.
I’ve learned that I think about death a lot and what it feels like to lose people you love. I’ve had wrap my head around what Hope’s grief must feel like. I still have my parents, and I think about losing them and how hard that will be. I learned that grief is hella messy. It’s like this Gordian knot of a bunch of different emotions that is so hard to untangle that it’s easier to give up and just wallow in the mess. I’ve read a lot, and I’ve talked to a lot of people as I try to understand how to work through and around grief.
I’ve learned it’s so hard.
I’ve briefly mentioned in other posts that one of my exes died last year. His death was incredibly sad for me, but it wasn’t entirely shocking. His history suggested that without intervention and a major life turn around that he would probably die young, and he did. I still struggle with his death. I harbor feelings about what might have happened if I hadn’t left him a decade ago. Could I have saved him?
I know I couldn’t have, but I still think about it. And I’m still working through it. I’m always a work in progress.
My messy feelings about that loss were compounded this weekend when I learned that Elihu, my more recent ex and love that appeared sporadically in this space, passed way this weekend. I feel like I’ve been in shock for days now. I haven’t dropped a tear; I haven’t heaved. I wish I could cry; I feel like it would help me get through this, but it’s not happened yet.
Instead I feel white hot anger.
And profound sadness.
And more anger.
And more sadness.
And I’ve questioned whether he’s really gone.
I’ve run scenarios in my head.
I’ve tried to make sense of it.
I can’t. None of it makes sense.
I know that it is true. I know that it is real. And my heart hurts; my head hurts.
It just hurts so badly.
I replay the best, most glorious times in my head. I remember the pain of our separation. I remember settling into a distant friendship that I never let bloom into a full friendship because I knew reconciliation might come up and I didn’t want that. I feel regret for that distance even though I know it was probably for the best.
I replay his laugh and his deep baritone voice that spoke beautifully accented English.
And I’m just so sad and mad and a bunch of other feelings that I just can’t even name.
The grief is overwhelming.
I’m reminded of all the friends and acquaintances who have passed away in the last 5 years. The number is impressive for all the wrong reasons, and the number continues to grow. Still being here, still living this life… It makes me so grateful that I’m healthy, but it’s terrifies me that at anytime I could fall victim to my own demise. I am increasingly preoccupied by death.
I would rather be focused on living.
So, I’m trying to get myself together this week. I’ll continue to be kind to myself. I’ve contacted an attorney to update all my estate plans, and I had the morbid conversation with Hope about my final wishes. Doing these things eases the intensity of the feelings. They give me a sense of control when everything seems a little out of control.
The intensity of these feelings will pass. I will continue to experience this phenomenon though…the notification that someone else I know has left this life. I’ll go through this again. I don’t like the notion of getting used to it, but I know that there will be some level of acceptance that comes. Acceptance allows the feelings to wash over me without drowning me. I see that with my parents, and I saw it with my grandparents.
I didn’t anticipate contemplating acceptance of mortality without fear at this point in my life, but here we are.
I’m grateful to my daughter for being so kind to me the last few days. Hope is incredibly empathetic on most days, but I know of all the people in my life that she gets this. She sees my grief. She reminds me that life goes on. She says the things I’ve said to her over the last 6 years. It’s a great comfort to me. It also is confirmation that maybe, just maybe I helped her with her grief.
I’m hopeful that like her, I can somehow integrate this grief in ways that allow me to keep moving forward.
Time will tell.