Updated: May 5, 2020
I imagine being a parent during a pandemic is at least a bit different for everyone, if not entirely. For me, motherhood in the time of COVID-19 has been full of challenges, tests, and beauty. Spending more time at home with my family is, of course, amazing. We can spend afternoons outdoors picking dandelions and collecting the best sticks and rocks, chasing bubbles dispersed from a plastic pineapple on the stoop. But my partner and I also both work full time. We take shifts locked away and working, bouncing in and out of bedrooms and the garage for stolen moments of semi-peace to take phone calls and update spreadsheets. It is not ideal, but it is what we have.
With two active toddlers locked indoors on rainy days and confined to the backyard on the sunny ones, tensions can be high. I've found myself losing my cool more often than I'd like to admit. But I did admit it, and I decided to try tele-therapy for the first time. I signed up at 3am after a particularly bad night of anxiety and insomnia (both me and my oldest daughter) and immediately regretted it the next morning, as these things tend to go.
But with money already spent, I went ahead and booked my first session. My therapist is a sweet woman. I've spoken to her but have not seen her, other than a small thumbnail photo that appears in our chat window. As I knew she would, she recommended meditation, something I've fought against for years. A meditative, quiet shower, she suggested, or a walk alone with no thoughts, only your body. I committed myself to trying it, but then the weekend got away from me. It was Sunday night. I needed something to show by Monday afternoon. And it was right in front of me.
When I weave, I always do so in a bubble of sound. Music, podcasts, true crime documentaries or screaming children. That night would be different. I ignored my impulse to turn on the latest episode of Dateline NBC and instead took a deep breath, placed my loom onto my lap, and began weaving circles out of wool and cotton, dried flowers and silk, velvet. I felt my fingers doing the work. There was a beat to it, a rhythm that I never noticed before. I counted my breaths in time with the over-under, round and round of the fiber.
Was this meditating? Maybe not. I wasn't sure. I'm still not. I suppose anything that slows you down is, to some. I came away feeling calm, and also pleased with what I'd created in this strange space of silence and gentle movement. I look forward to more of the same, which I suppose means something.
But a long shower where I don't plan grocery lists or replay conversations from years before still sounds like a wonderful idea, and I may have to try that too.