Well, it was just another tiring day in 2020 today. A day of getting up at 4:30 am because our oldest woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep, which has been a trend lately (anxiety? food allergies? something else? These parents will certainly investigate!). A day of homeschooling and zooming and resting to bypass a potential migraine and worrying that the kids aren’t getting enough physical movement with so many activities canceled. A day of trying to email through the brain fog of anxiety and lack of sleep. A day of finding myself horrified by what I see in the news.
Whether I want to or not, COVID-19 certainly does seem to dominate my life these days — even out here in our otherwise happy and healthy home. And, yes, it does scare me to think of the potential continued effects on my life, let alone potentially to the health of my loved ones.
I generally try to keep this newsletter vague in its politics, although my post-2016 election newsletter certainly laid it all bare. But I’m finding it increasingly challenging to think about much else as we are now only a month away from 2020’s Election Day. So much hangs in the balance.
Furthermore, I’m so tired of feeling like my life is not my own. I am a big believer that we should all be engaged citizens and stay aware. But I also want to give my OWN life the majority of my attention every day. Every little life is unique — filled with its own characters, dramas, stories, triumphs, losses, and landscapes. But it feels as though all of our individual experiences are eclipsed right now by the Major Dramas of the shared American experience. The pandemic is certainly a main culprit in stripping us all down to a very similar shared bare-bones experience of zoom and masks and limited contact with our loved ones (and also one that highlights the inequities in our system even as it creates sameness in our daily limitations).
I accepted from early on that this pandemic would be a long haul. But now that we’re six months in, it’s really sinking in that this will be a major chunk of our kids’ childhood. And I can’t help feeling deeply sad about that. They are growing and changing so quickly and their world is such a small place for them to practice new skills and learn. And, I’m just one of millions and millions of parents who are exhausted by trying to be EVERYTHING to our kids. My first priority is simply to stay alive for them through this pandemic, but then the many other responsibilities pile up. I need to get them outside moving more. I need to make sure they connect with friends. I need to ponder whether our child might have some food allergies affecting his sleep (or help him with anxiety). I need to help them stay growing in academics and music and social skills … even as homeschoolers, as our world becomes smaller, the burden has grown.
And, of course, this election season is also a rip-roaring one that feels like it has forced us all to pay attention to a bloody train accident. Friends, I don’t like watching bloody train accidents. I also feel my exhaustion deepen when I don’t feel like my exhaustion is even understood or recognized by our leaders. When I don’t hear them acknowledging the extremely real ways that this pandemic is affecting people — parents and non-parents alike. When they don’t mourn the loss of life, the loss of milestone celebrations, the loss of jobs, the loss of security, the loss of relationships … I don’t hear the gravity that matches my own experience.
That’s really all I have to say today. Yes, the sun is a golden glow, and the food is delicious, and it is all a balm. But it doesn’t take away the pervasive feeling of distraction and worry and sadness that color my days. I’m ready for my experience to be truly seen and heard by the people who are in the highest levels of leadership so that we can start making real progress toward getting through this Very Hard Experience. I will vote for the candidates who I hear are hearing me … hearing all of us.
I want to know that my neighbors’ who have lost jobs will have their needs met and not lose their homes. I want to know that teachers have the resources they need to help education children in this new reality. I want our highest leaders to appreciate how tired we all are. Tired of the bloody train wrecks and the divisiveness and the warping of this shared tragedy into political theater.
COVID and the resulting necessary changes in our world does dominate my life. And it’s exhausting and scary, and I’m tired. Are you tired too?
And, yes, enjoy this week’s vegetables too …
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Meet this week’s vegetables: