I recently realized that I have grappled with an unarticulated impression that we are living an alternity right now, an otherness that is “getting in the way of” or somehow distinct from “real life.” How often do I say: “when things get back to normal…” or “whenever this is done…” or “post-COVID…”? And yet, spring has given way to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, and winter, soon, to spring again. My children sprout with new abilities and awarenesses. Hill’s crawl disappeared into a wobbly totter months ago and now he lays claim to one speed only: a sprint. He loves lions and trucks. He has a preternatural sense for the clock turning 5:30 p.m., as he always rises from his play at that time, hooks his small hand in mind, and leads me to the door of mini’s bedroom so that I can pour him milk as he waits for me to prepare his dinner. Mini returns home from school singing “there was a man who had a dream / his name was Martin Luther King,” and calls “bon soir!” over her shoulder, and informs me that she is “painting a self-portrait” and that “‘bepectacles’ [spectacles] is another word for glasses,” and says, calmly, as I hover listlessly over the dining table speckled with puzzle pieces, abandoning one possible placement, “It’s OK, mama. Just try again.” I run in circles through Central Park, kneel to pray, spend too much money attempting to reverse time through elaborate skincare regimens, read outrageous or beautiful or smeh books, write outrageous or beautiful or smeh things, make the same five or six dinners my children will deign to eat at 5:30 p.m. every evening, laugh at text chains with my siblings, make a mockery of myself dancing to The Freeze Dance Song for the amusement of my children, make eyes at Mr. Magpie at 4:09 p.m. on Saturday afternoons (“but how will we ever get to bedtime?!”), sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” in the soft darkness of my daughter’s bedroom, tut over the current state of affairs with fellow parents in the school drop-off line, text girlfriends who have just given birth, tamper with the way I organize and conceptualize my day, call my mother while I walk Tilly at 7:15 p.m. — not so much to say anything of specific importance, but because the gesture and connection means everything, belabor dinner delivery options, dodge detritus and unsavoriness on the sidewalks and subways of New York City, watch entire series of television, make small-talk with the doorman, toast to minor successes and celebrations, acquire and manipulate new words, cry on Mr. Magpie’s shoulder from the challenge and stress and over-a-year-long absence of my mother’s arms around me, agonize over parenting decisions, FaceTime siblings and parents and friends, linger over puzzles, restock our pantry and medicine cabinet with alacrity, relish Mr. Magpie’s extraordinary culinary skills, and navigate the bric-a-brac of parenting and the colossal load of household admin, which has somehow only intensified in the wake of this world-stopping, time-bending pandemic.
That is to say – I continue to live my life. The pandemic has constricted its latitude in various ways, but not, as it turns out, in one of the ways that matters most: I still move through my days capable of the same wide spray of emotions. I laugh at Ted Lasso and memes from my sister and mini’s deadpan “was that a duck?” after my son breaks wind; I cry when the son dies in Hamnet and when a girlfriend calls with heartbreaking news and when Mr. Magpie, prompted by a Table Topics for Kids card asking “what is happiness?”, explains to my two small children: “Happiness is finding your perfect match and making her your wife.”
I am not living an alternity, or a rehearsal, or a dressing room. I am living, to quote HRH Mary Oliver, “my one wild and precious life.”
+So strange to revisit posts from early on into the pandemic. Can barely read them — they give me heartburn.
+If poetry is a bit too far afield for you to read, can I recommend her excellent, quiet, observant book of essays?! Spectacular.
+These are the aforementioned Table Topics cards — a welcome diversion during the long dinner hour. Highly recommend! Mini loved them!
+My favorite footwear investment in 2020. I wear these nearly everyday while commuting with mini to school. Warm, waterproof, and I dig the style.
+PSA: Westman Atelier is now carried by Sephora, in case you’re a VIB and want to rack up points there (plus, they currently offer free shipping). I’m obsessed with their foundation stick, blush stick, and highlighter. 10/10 would recommend all three.
+Gorgeous dress — perfect shade of blue, and with a perfectly oversized bow to boot.
+I think we all ordered the same adorable (well priced) personalized cards. I actually got ours done up with just our last name: “SHOOP!” So fun!
+I also think we’re all looking for small ways to refresh our homes — this roundup of great pastel finds for kitchen was very popular.
+These are Mr. Magpie’s rain boots — a little more refined/less clunky than other styles I’ve seen.
+For children, I love the ones from Petit Bateau and TBBC (these are unlined, so better for warmer months). Gap sometimes has good ones, but not currently. I like the traditional styling of this $30 style from Amazon, too.
+Pearl hair clips. I added these to my cart (for mini, or maybe myself…) for my next order of Palmolive and paper towels.
+If these aren’t the cutest overalls…