Tripping into spring

Sorry for the gaps in writing. It’s been an intense few months! It takes a lot to get me to a breaking point, but I sure found it. Dave sent me packing for a few days at the cabin, a working retreat. I got a ton of catching up done, but I also got a staunch reminder about being an introvert. No one believes me when I say that, but the intense relief I felt, working in solitude for a couple days, can hardly be described in words. Simple cooking for one, setting my own schedule, letting my overthinking run wild then run down – I have no words.

I was chatting with someone about their recent getaway. They mentioned not understanding how tense and pent up they’d been until they stepped away. I agree. I don’t think I can unpack all of Covid in two days, but I’m sure processing a lot. Leaving the kids is really hard. I know I come back such a better parent, but they’re growing up so fast I hate to miss a single day. Still, I’m no good to anyone this fried.

I have a true life partner. He seems to have boundless understanding for who I am, and I can only hope that I’m supporting him half as well as he supports me. So when we talk about the burden on moms during the pandemic, I usually stay pretty quiet. I’ve got a lot of help at home, and our school is doing an incredible job. (If you have to deal with virtual school, I can only hope you’re in a similar setup. I am so impressed with these teachers and kids!) but man! I am feeling that pressure right now. And if I’m feeling it, I can only imagine what families with less help are going through.

The fabled “return” is on the horizon. We inch toward a return to school/work/performance/live. And seemingly every day, someone else in our circle is vaccinated. I know we’re in the home stretch. But oh my god, it can’t come soon enough. The ache from missing our people is intense. The friendships that have intensified during this only make us want to reconnect more. And with the anniversary of the original lockdown AND three of our kids’ birthdays coming in the next 10 days, I suspect more processing is coming.

Hugs to all of you. You are appreciated, missed, loved, and thought of often. Here’s to an early spring!


Working, studying, wandering

For the first six months of Covid, we pretty much hunkered down at home and outside. Frankly, no complaints! The kids did a great job of entertaining themselves with what we had, and sitting on the patio with friends wasn’t that different from a normal summer – a mask isn’t that big of a deal. Still, in the same way that I wondered how to approach opera without a theater or an audience, we started thinking through what Covid would allow us to do. Over the summer, the answer was to have camp at Sassy‘s house! The kids were there most of the week, and Dave and I joined them on the weekends. I know the kids love camp, and we were sad not to have them out making new friends all over the place, but we still had a pretty awesome summer.

I’ll be honest; fall was depressing. I work in an industry where gathering together is a critical piece of what we do, on stage and off. The kids going back to school in the fall is always a high energy and high enthusiasm part of the year. We all struggled to adapt to fall without the benefits of the things that make us tick. So, like most of the country, we wandered. We went for hikes across the state, learned to pack snacks, wipes, and layers. Honestly, for our kids who live close to all the different parts of their life, the drive was half the fun. Sometimes we take Leroy, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we plan a big adventure, and sometimes we hit the road and I pick somewhere to go as were driving. It doesn’t really matter. It’s a great opportunity to focus on what’s beautiful around us, and getting some space from the world.

I have friends and relatives who are true nature nerds, and I’m sure I could survive alone in the wild for weeks at a time. We do the clamping equivalent of hiking, and the kids can’t carry-on at a fast clip. They’re too busy looking at everything around them, darting into the bushes or making up stories for what happened in a ravine. it’s torture for a fast walker! But letting them set the pace means less whining, and ends up being really enjoyable for the grownups too. Turns out speed isn’t everything.

Lord knows how much longer we’re gonna be doing this. The vaccines are rolling out but it feels like forever until everyone in our house will get a shot in the arm. For a family that has been full steam ahead since the marriage that started all of this 11 years ago, it’s forcing us to learn how to slow down. That lesson can be a challenge sometimes, but you can’t truly wander unless you give yourself a little freedom to lollygag. Beautiful things happen when you are open to a detour, or a pause. So we stop and talk about frogs, or leaves. Inside adventures happened too – performances, cuddles, even the rare tiny reader sighting.

So as far away as a total return feels, we are also thinking through other ways to wander. Working and learning or not going to stop, but who says the adventures have to? Roaming is on our horizon, safe and isolated wanderings that we hope the kids will remember for a long time to come. as they get older and start going on adventures of their own, we want them to welcome the freedom of not knowing entirely what comes next.