Pandemic at the Disco: Spring 2021

Welp. Here we are. It’s May 13, 2021. It’s been exactly 14 months since we locked down, and at this point, 5/6 of our house is fully vaccinated with a miracle mRNA vaccine that didn’t exist a year ago, and the youngest member has had her first shot. The relief this engenders—the gratitude for science and medicine and research—is immense and palpable. We need to do everything we can to get these vaccines to the rest of the struggling world now.

I am a 3L who completed 59 units of law school from home, and I wait on two remaining grades. My GPA finally sits near my undergrad cum laude level, after clawing back from a precipitous and difficult 1L year. There are physical traces of blood, sweat and tears on the floor under my desk. Nothing about this has been easy. But—with the support of my family, who each lifted when I could not—I did it.

Later this month I start an internship at an organization that I considered a moon-shot. Like, I didn’t even expect an interview, let alone an offer. This place is quite literally why I tossed my hat in the law-school ring. The work they do is what inspired me to think bigger than just helping my own kid, what inspired me to reach for policy advocacy, statutory change, and to look up what the hell an amicus curiae was (it’s a written plea to the Supreme Court to hear and consider an argument in support of or opposition to a pending issue). The place I will be working for? They write these specifically for disability laws. Friends…it’s exactly, precisely, completely why I am here. And they invited me to join them. It matters so much to me, is so big, that I just have to let that sit there because I don’t know how to approach it beyond a simple statement.

One of our kids is heading to college out west this summer. One of them has decided to defer their western acceptance and explore options closer to home. One of them has opted to scrap this nightmare academic year in favor of a do-over, and two of them will be graduating together. It changes the dynamic of our home, but isn’t that what dynamic means? Constantly changing? I think so. And it’s okay. After this last year, if we know anything at all, it’s that we have to be adaptable and adjust our sails constantly.

Domestic updates: Like everyone stuck at home, we’ve tried to make things more comfortable and suitable. We got a new sofa after the last one catastrophically failed and we had no more bricks or copies of the OED with which to prop it’s cracked timbers. The boys moved it’s carcas to the back deck and Jon paid a neighbor to take it to the dump, while Costco delivered new family-appropriate seating. Despite measuring, I was not quite prepared when it arrived, and a decorating crisis followed—the color and size changed everything about our small family room.

Jon and Jeff stood in helpless dread when it looked like I might have to paint the entire main floor because it was so much darker with the new grey couch. The colors were suddenly all Wrong, and I couldn’t stop fidgeting and moving things around. I don’t have a decorating style beyond eclectic Thrift Store, but it has to feel right. Friends, it did not feel right.

After a couple days of tweaking discomfort, it dawned on me that instead of painting, I might be able to shift things if I added different colors. It worked. But that meant I had to rearrange the art and photos; and you can see where this is going, right? Basically we played a giant game of Tetris with the whole house for a week while I moved everything around, because when you give a mouse a cookie…

Here’s the result:

It’s still a moving target, but I am happy with the art I collected and moved around. Most of the pieces are from friends or artists that I love and admire, and that’s a happy place. By the way, as Mo helpfully pointed out, this is part of what prepping for finals looks like for me. My mind is a whirlwind, and sometimes doing something physical oddly helps me focus.

I also decided it was time to do my own hair. Again. I watched a bunch of videos online and ordered all the stuff I needed (which was still far less than a trip to the salon!) and figured if I screwed it up, I could always just dye it brown. It was a roller coaster ride, but I think it worked! And, I have enough bleach and toner to do it probably another 26 times!

Jon’s brother and sister-in-law live in Maryland, and it hasn’t been safe for us to see each other since last January, so for Jon’s 50th birthday, all four of us met (sans kids who were not vaccinated yet) at the park to finally see and hug each other. It was wonderful. Thanks, Pfizer!

Jon and Abby both had birthdays during two weeks of finals for me. That timing is just awesome; I had no space to plan anything good, we couldn’t go anywhere fun or take a trip, and we couldn’t have anyone over. Just like nearly everyone else, we made do.

We are lucky, and I don’t forget it for one moment. I hope you and yours are safe and can soon hug your loved ones outside of your home again, too.

p.s. I found a therapist who specializes in trauma and I am starting to unpack some of the heavy things I have been carrying (not always—or even often—successfully) for so many years. The tools I needed to literally survive earlier years are not what I need now, but my hands are cramped and bent to their shape, and I have to learn to put them down. It’s hard work, but I’m trying.