Pandemic Journal for Our Someday-Heirs

It’s mid-October 2020. It’s difficult to distinguish between the anxieties that pop-up like an unrelenting game of whack-a-mole: Is this law school anxiety? Election anxiety? Covid-19 anxiety? Fear for Democracy and the future of my country and the world anxiety? Is this just plain old anxiety, which frankly would be like a warm blanket of familiarity right now? Or is this just the trailing macabre gift of the insomnia that that’s like a houseguest on day twelve?

It’s impossible to tell.

The history books will tell what this period was like in general, so I am left with the mundane, the personal. And it turns out, that’s my jam. I am completely insignificant and powerless in the maelstrom of the world, but I do have some influence over those in my home and in the small corner of the world in which I lift. I’m imagining the collective power of ants–and hoping that collectively, we can do things that are in fact impossible for any single one of us.

Today is day 230-something of our pandemic-based isolation. We shut the door of this house in March, and no one has directly interacted with the outside world—or entered—since. Thankfully we had a substantial storage of staples, as Mormons are counseled to do, and we’ve replenished perishables through delivery services. I’ve attempted to support local businesses where possible, but we live in the bedroom suburbs of DC and there aren’t many independent options nearby. The only thing I have control over is how generously I tip delivery workers; I’ve now built that in to our budget.

School for the kids—not to put too fine a point on it—is for shit. Our districts are fully from-home, and I both acknowledge that it’s the only way, and also that it completely sucks. It’s bad for all learners, but it’s really awful for Special Ed kids who need extra support in a myriad of ways. My kids have good teachers and a great IEP team, but everyone is trying to function in a system that wasn’t built for this, and districts are attempting to impose pre-pandemic standards on unprecedented and highly irregular circumstances. It’s not working to hold teachers to those standards, and it’s absolutely not working for teachers to then roll that downhill to their students.

Law School from home is complicated. I am officially remote for the entire 2L year, joining all of my classes via Zoom or Google Classroom. It’s more difficult to focus and synthesize concepts through this medium compared to in-person. I am in a house with 3 students learning this way, and a spouse who is working this way. There are technical issues, and despite the best internet we can get, connections fail and streams are lost. The stress and time expended dealings with the fallout from theses failures is a tangible cost. While I am grateful I can do this for the safety of my family, it adds several layers of difficulty to what is already a hard undertaking.

One of the things (sooooo many things) I didn’t understand about Law School was that you start securing jobs your first year. Don’t feel qualified? Do it anyway! For 2/3L internships, we’re advised to have a solid list of places to apply, and then have a “reach”—the legal world is striated, competitive, and often uses institutions and class-rank as a sorting method.

Last week, while I was doing the dishes after dinner, my “reach” application called and offered me a position. I was competing against Ivy-covered applicants half my age, and I didn’t expect an interview, let alone an offer. We had an impromptu family dance party in the kitchen while we listened to the voicemail on speaker. It’s in DC again, and I hope I get to serve in-person, but I will show up however I can.

I am having to resist the urge to just keep adopting new pets. Being home all the time, the dogs are such a source of comfort. As always, Tiberius is at my feed, snoring and slobbering. Squidward is settling in—albeit with some bumps. He really likes to eat things, and despite countless chew toys provided, he prefers destroying kitchen towels and believes the towel basket is his toy box instead a laundry depository.

The cats are fine. They have taken to waking me at 4 am for whatever meal comes before breakfast in cat-Hobbit world. Not that I was actually sleeping anyway. Then once I’m up, may as well get to work. There just aren’t any boundaries around work, school, home, family anymore—it’s all saltwater permeating the cell walls and running willy nilly with gravity.

Speaking of Hobbits, one of my professors is a D & D fan, and uses a twenty-sided dice to choose his cold calls from a chart he made. Whatever gets us all through it, right?

Also, this happened on September 18 and my heart is still broken and I can’t really sit and pause and grieve for a person who threw herself into good work and without whom we would all be poorer.

5 thoughts on “Pandemic Journal for Our Someday-Heirs

  1. My dear friend!
    First, my love from Belarus 🇧🇾.
    Second, thank you for your words, your ability to put into description what so many of us are feeling.
    I’m grateful for the moment our kids are in school (because the whole school pre-k through 12) is less than 200 and they are doing it as safely as possible. But realistically it won’t last.
    I’m grateful I get to telework, as I have done since March… as does hubby…though he ends up in the office often because of the nature of computers and servers.
    I m grateful we get to vote, despite election anxieties…because watching the people of Belarus use their voices for the first time in protest-despite the dictatorship, desperate for democracy, for change, for hope-despite of jailing, and brutality and inhuman treatment- is inspiring!
    Keep your head above water. Know that your family is loved from Belarus!
    Love you friend ❤️

  2. Long time reader who has never actually met you. In our small Mormon world, someone in my old ward knew your husband and said he was a good man. Isn’t it funny that even though I’ve never met you, it gave me such comfort knowing you had found a good man for you and your family (and he is just as lucky)? I thought of “Dandelion Mama” today and hopped on to see how you guys were doing. I was so happy to see the posts and shed a couple tears when I read about the reach job offer. Thank you for sharing your family and life in such a beautiful way for so many years. While I honor and admire RBG with the utmost respect, I also love that social media and the internet has allowed me to get a peak into the lives of other “normal” women making the best out of all that life throws their way, like yourself. God bless!

    • Thank you so much for commenting, Ann. I never know (have never known!) who is reading, but writing is still my way of processing the world, so I keep on… I’m glad Jon’s reputation is solid, and yes, Mormon world is so small! Thank you for revealing a little of yourself in turn.

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