Dear me (one year ago),
You’re about a month into a global pandemic by now (one year ago, April of 2020) with no immediate end in sight, despite the original predictions of things getting back to normal in about 3 weeks. Your freezer is still plenty well stocked and you’ve got plenty of toilet paper (thanks to your reserves you didn’t even have to go buy any!). You’ve done an awesome job strategizing and preparing for these “unprecedented times” for your family. New York has been hit excruciatingly hard and it feels like we are just sitting ducks, waiting for the worst of it. You are carrying so much anxiety and fear, as is the rest of the country and world right now.
I’m not sure there is really much I can say that will help you in the year ahead. But I will try…
When Paul tells you the hospital doesn’t have enough protective equipment for the ER staff; you will be so stressed out. Try not to worry, your friends and family (and even some strangers!) will come through to help out. And he will be ok, he is really good at staying safe at work and hyper conscientious about protecting you and the boys. There will be days this is more difficult for him than he lets on. But you will weather the brunt of it together. Love him hard, keep asking about his day (even when the answer is mostly the same), and cook his favorite meals whenever you can muster the enthusiasm. And when you can’t do that, just order his favorite take out food, he’ll appreciate that almost as much.
When you realize you’ve been the primary bedtime parent for over 70+ days, for crying out loud- ask for some help. It will benefit everyone in the long run if you prioritize time for your own self care, even when it feels impossible. Give yourself permission to feel all the feels and practice holding space for yourself. You’ve never been very good at that but you’re going to have to get better at it this year. When the days get particularly challenging, make sure to go outside and move your body. You’ve got to keep eating regular meals, not just picking at the leftovers of what you’ve made the kids.
Oh and don’t forget to take a lot of naps. That can be a total game changer.
Deciding to start therapy just months before this mess hit was an incredibly well-timed decision and a saving grace through the thick of it. And thank goodness for your virtual book club! That will be a guaranteed social hang out at least once a month, albeit on Zoom… but still! You’ve just got to stay on top of sending the emails out on time. And I know you’re bummed that tennis and soccer got canceled but there will be a group of women who invite you to start playing “socially-distanced” doubles late in the summer. This will be the outlet you didn’t know you needed. And will be the main thing you’ll swear got you through this year in the long run.
Don’t worry so much about the boys.
They are resilient and they have each other. There will be tons of fighting and whining and hard hard hard days. But you will get creative and find ways to help strengthen the whole family’s bond with one another. And you’ll come up with some damn good sanity savers while you’re at it. Family nights will become everyone’s favorite weekly tradition. Your boys will be the light in every day that keeps you grounded and grateful. They may come out of this year seeming pretty feral but they’ll bounce back quickly.
Most days it’s gonna feel like everyone you know is treading water right alongside you. Like you can’t reach out without dragging someone else under.
There are so many people suffering and so few ways you’ll feel like you can help. The empath in you will try to absorb it all. To carry the weight of it all tucked deep inside. But you can’t do that and expect to not sink. You will have to share your heart. Reach out anyway. Be vulnerable. The strangest thing will happen when you do this. Others will start to give themselves permission to do the same and this will ultimately make you all feel lighter.
By all means KEEP WRITING and keep on dreaming.
You’ve got so many things brewing inside you. And the sooner you figure out that THIS is a big part of what you are here to do, the better. This year is going to take its toll on you and everyone you love. But you’re gonna come through stronger on the other side, I promise.