May 2020 was supposed to be this crazy busy, amazing, end-of-an-era month. A May to remember! I have all those dates popping up in my calendar, dates that I meticulously noted at the beginning of the school year, in a previous life. Now they are evil reminders of the things we are missing.
F, my quirky, insecure, stunningly beautiful middle schooler was supposed to dance a happy dance, finally leaving her much-hated middle school and two years of bullying, girl drama, and general misery behind (if you’ve seen the movie “Eighth grade”, you know what I’m talking about). Of course she’s been dancing happily, as she didn’t need to return to physical school, location of many a nightmare, but being stuck at home with your parents is not much fun when you’re nearly 14, full of teenage hormones, and think you’re 18 and your parents are the biggest idiots in the world. I would love to fast-forward this stage, Coronavirus or not.
And then there’s my senior. E was supposed to graduate from high school, full of ideas about what her future should look like. “Prom” just popped up on my calendar, and while E was always somewhat cynical about the whole thing, she had purchased a dress (in a thrift store, of course, in keeping with her principles) and it was hanging up on the door of her wardrobe. I don’t know what she’s done with it, it’s no longer there, and my heart is breaking a little bit more each day. The graduation ceremony is tentatively set for mid-August, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be in full lockdown again by that date, as Texas is (ridiculously and perilously) opening up the lockdown, and the second wave of Covid19 is just around the corner; I’m in no doubt about that. And what’s more, come August, none of the seniors will be up for anything school-related, all thoughts of school and that part of their lives firmly pushed to the far recesses of their minds!
Fact is, school here in Texas ends in four weeks. It’s ending, and E never got to say goodbye properly, not to her teachers, and her classmates, some of whom she’ll never see again. She sees them occasionally on Zoom, of course, but that whole rite of passage, of living through her last week of school, enjoy senior prank day, and then her very last day of school, will not happen for her. And while I’m glad our schools closed when they did, and how these last few weeks of the school year are being handled, it’s tough to know that this very crucial time will be missing from her life. But then I chide myself for being melodramatic. We’re all healthy and at least physically in good shape, and that’s more than a lot of people can say right now.
I’m determined not letting this whole thing crush me. I’ve found my routine (as noted before, it’s not that different from before, which is kind of sad but true), and I’m enjoying a lot of things I usually don’t get to do. I’m joining a weekly yoga class on Zoom, for example, taught by a friend in London, and I’m loving it. This wouldn’t have happened before Corona. I’m also enjoying big group meetings with friends who now get what it’s like when you can’t physically see your friends (see? This is what it’s been like for me for ten whole years!). And my big plan is to get a few of my best friends from various countries together on a group chat, so that they can finally “meet” – something that would never happen in the “real” world. Endless possibilities.
I’ve also been okay with homemade attempts at keeping up appearances. I’ve never been one to go to a salon for everything anyway, managing manicures, pedicures, mustache waxing, and dying my hair by myself most of the time, so I’m used to that and don’t really panick about turning into a perimenopausal bag lady. And the other day, when I was about to go grocery shopping, I stopped and painted my toenails first. Standards, people.
Talking about grocery shopping, it’s not fun, but I’ve found it actually helps to get out and do mundane things from time to time. We started off with online shopping and delivery, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to get delivery slots or even curbside pick-up times. I’m a bit picky where I shop though. Went to Wholefoods last week, because I craved rotisserie chicken (I’d been talking to my mum in Germany, and she mentioned sneaking out to the chicken van to get Brathändl, which made my mouth water), but I don’t trust a standard American supermarket chicken. Hence Wholefoods. I took my spot in the queue, wearing my cute, homemade mask, entered the store, found chicken and, on my way to the checkout, decided to splurge a little. A bottle of champagne, expensive ice cream, luxury cookies, olives, fancy cheese…. Bring it on, I thought, but actually did hold myself back from total abandon and felt smugly restrained and sensible. I still ended up paying $250 for two measly shopping bags, but the big smiles I was greeted with when I returned home made it all worth it. Of course, I went straight back the following week, this time leaving any sense of sensibility and restraint at home. This might become a dangerous habit.
Unfortunately, restraint has to be part of the day occasionally, as a little balance is needed, Corona or not. I’m in the habit of putting on a pair of jeans, just once a week, for a little reality check. And the reality is a bit shocking, after such a short period of time, but then again, it’s not the time to be too harsh with oneself, is it? But it does freak me out when other people wear jeans. The other morning, when I was huffing and puffing up a hill with my dog (Texas humidity is back for the season), I saw a thirty-something woman lithely jumping out of her SUV and sauntering to her front door, not a care in the world. She was wearing tight jeans and looked amazing. You bitch! I thought, viciously. It’s too hot for jeans in Texas right now, so the only reason she was wearing them was to show that she still could. I did feel better when I was talking to a friend on Zoom, and she admitted that she had just ordered two new pairs of jeans, a size bigger than before.
But who cares. I’m so grateful I can still enjoy nice walks and frozen Margaritas. I hope you can too, wherever you are. Have a good weekend, y’all!