I dropped my girls off to their grandmother this afternoon, bags packed and hugs a plenty. I cried pulling out of the driveway. The past two weeks have been a blur, as if being stuck at home has somehow made time speed up. I internally rolled my eyes, reminding myself that there will be no more switches or drop-offs in a matter of days. Their dad moves thousands of miles away in 51 days, to be exact. Not that I’m counting or anything. But I still teared up. We’ve been doing split custody for seven years and it will always be a strange reality. The girls live dual lives in a similar way that their parents do during the “on” and “off” weeks. I’m normally not emotional to the point of tears when the girls go back to their dad. Sometimes it feels harder than normal.
I saw a meme a couple weeks ago that said something like, “Life has become like Vegas: you don’t know what day it is, drinking is acceptable at any time of day, and most people lose.” It’s funny on the surface, but the kind of funny that makes you laugh because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Like the Quarentini. We create some concoction to temporarily distract from the reality we’re living in. But that reality ends up only being a wicked headache the next morning. And that day blends into the rest. And we either reach for another Quarentini or choose something else.
I thought I was doing well with the current pandemic: feeling grateful to not only still have a job but also one that allows me to work from home; rocking the zoom meetings; staying safe and healthy. Being connected via screens, not feeling part of a bigger world in the social sense and waking up never quite knowing what day it is has started to have an effect. My partner and I had a wicked fight last weekend that spanned the course of days. I got frustrated with remote school and was harsh and made Vivienne cry. I’ve been crabby with coworkers who haven’t done anything to contribute to my crabbiness. Under other circumstances, I would be in Seattle right now having a girl’s weekend with one of my besties who is getting married in the fall. I worry about my friends who own small businesses. I worry about the very important people in my life who are in the high risk category. I worry about a lot of things. I’m on edge thinking about the things I miss. I try not to dwell on the fact that those things might not be back for a very long time.
Two minutes after I dropped the kids off, I got rear-ended.
I found a pen, paper, insurance info, and wanted to burst out in tears. After talking to the other driver and assessing the damage (cracked bumper, neither of us hurt) and realizing that things could have been so much worse, I didn’t want to cry anymore. I wanted a Quarentini, but one that was strawberry lemonade with frozen blueberry ice cubes. One that doesn’t mask anything at all but would provide a moment of refreshing relief. I have no idea how, but I know it will be ok, somehow. We are adapting, changing, attempting to live a new normal. That in itself is really hard.
Things are uncertain right now and it feels impossible to have any sense of control. But we can be stuck or we can figure it out. We are all still connected and need to figure out new ways to experience what that connection feels like. I might cry along the way, but I’ll also remind myself that I’ve always said “normal is boring,” anyway.