May 3, 2021

by eric

What a month.  More changed for us in April than since the pandemic started.

We worked ourselves into a frenzy waiting for our turn to get vaccinated, but ultimately both of us were finally able to get shots.  Washington State flirted with maintaining the May 1st date for general adult eligibility, but ultimately accelerated it to April 15th.  And almost immediately afterwards there was excess capacity and appointments everywhere, even in Seattle, one of the most vaccine-willing places in the US.  Given the lack of uptake, as expected herd immunity appears all but impossible to achieve.  That’s no help for kids in the short term, but we’re at least breathing a bit easier ourselves for the first time in a year.  Emotionally, it may take awhile before we feel comfortable to go eat in a restaurant or back to the gym–but a few long-deferred visits with friends and neighbors are brightening our days.

Our oldest returned in person to hybrid school, so once again I start my day walking him up the hill to class.  Even four days a week at 2.5 hours is transformative after a year of unending Zoom calls.

Our youngest, however, has thrown us for a loop by dropping his afternoon nap.  He stuck with a nap far longer than his older brother–but then one day he came sailing into my room during a conference call, commenting on my colleague and I wearing the same work hoodie, and it was all over.  Without that two-hour break from his increasingly exuberant three-year-old energy, we’ve all come a bit unglued.  My spouse hit the phones and found him a spot in a local preschool–and he immediately blossomed into it.

We’re not sanguine about the risks to the kids–but it was clear we had no real alternatives.  Intense spousal effort yielded summer care as well, and we have hope for more regular school hours in the fall.  Suddenly our cramped professional lives can stretch a bit and we can survey what remains.

Still, fourth waves surge here and there in the US, and India has exploded into a terrible humanitarian crisis, devastating friends and colleagues.

I hope at some point to have space to reflect on what to take from this experience.  But for now this article captures at least a little of it:

Someday soon — maybe summer, maybe fall — you’ll blink and find yourself wandering through a park without having to debate distance, masks and the social viability of hugs in your head. What a moment that will be: to live without having to think about how to live. In that moment, it will feel like you won. Like your own choices saved you, other people’s doomed them, and maybe it was even pretty easy to do the right thing.

But don’t forget how you really felt. How doubt kept you up at night and how tired you were of thinking. Remember all the times you couldn’t remember … that thing you’ve forgotten … and all the times you impulse yelled and impulse shopped. Remember how many times you just wanted help — not authoritarian, one-size solutions, just help — and how angry you were when, instead, you were expected to become an expert in seemingly everything.