Right now, America sucks. I feel it, you feel it. I’m not sure if we’ll look back at this period as another 1960s, or the beginning of the end, or the beginning of an eye-opening. Like many of you, I feel the weight of Donald Trump, the weight of the Capitol attack, the weight of QAnon losers and yet another day of COVID deaths and the inability to go anywhere.
So, in the name of positivity, I offer a sliver of (admittedly personal) light.
Save for an experimental two days, my kids have schooled from home since the beginning of the outbreak. My daughter Casey, a high school senior, does most of her work from her bedroom, with myriad trips downstairs throughout the day. My son Emmett, a high school freshman, does all of his work at the kitchen table.
I’m being selfish in that regard. I know it. And, certainly, I’d prefer my kids be at school, engaging and interacting and experiencing the requisite beats and rhythms of adolescence. They’re missing out on stuff that, once gone, is never again available. That’s a tragedy, and it sucks for all of our kids.
That said, when I walk into the kitchen my son often greets me with some weird hip-hop reference, and jokingly calls me “J-Dogg.” When I knock on my daughter’s door and enter, there’s always some scented candle burning; always some random life observation that sparks joy. I always take my son’s dirtied plate and bring it to the sink. I always take my daughter’s dirty bowl and bring it to the sink. My son talks about his friends. My daughter has a stream of comments about politics and Tik-Tok. We discuss issues. We chat about news. My son felts animals. My daughter writes to her prison penpal. Meals—once pretty organized—have largely turned into an ongoing buffet. My kids make themselves breakfast. We usually eat dinner together in front of the tube—casual, chilled. Bed times are increasingly flexible. We debate over who needs to take the dog out to poop. It’s pattern, sans pattern.
I hate this pandemic. Actually, to be blunt, right now I hate this country, and everything that’s happened. I will look back at this year and remember the misery, the sadness, the anger.
But I also think—deep down—I’ll miss it.
I’ll miss being together.