I hardly ever blog anymore. I thought quarantine would be a great time for me to return to it as a regular thing, but I’ve been working harder than ever at my day job. While the activity for work is similar to before—organizing marketing and communications—the overall effect on my body and my psyche of a day spent on Zoom calls and drafting careful messaging is more pronounced. The undercurrent of anxiety about the coronavirus, the stress of being stuck in my house all the time, and the gloom of continuous rainy, cloudy, and cold weather add a level of difficulty to everything I do, making the effort of keeping all the balls in the air that much more taxing.
But this post isn’t about me.
Kyle turns 15 today.
So that means fifteen years ago at this time I was blissed out from the epidural but also yelling at people every time a wave of heartburn hit me. Several hours later, this little nugget was on the outside:
Maybe stories about my body giving birth to him will gross him out. But since this is my blog and not his, I get to say what I want.
It’s safe to say that my life changed dramatically after Kyle was born. You can’t really plan for or realistically anticipate the events and feelings that will happen to you as a parent. There have been countless surprises, some really really big ones, things that I never imagined I would encounter as the mother of a boy. As the parent of this boy.
A few days ago I noticed that his face looked leaner.
Kyle surpassed me in height about 3 years ago, so I am used to him being taller than me. But he’s had a layer of kid on him that illustrated how he’s been on that fine line between childhood and adulthood. Not that there aren’t less subtle clues, like how he and Brady will thunder through the house at least once a day having Nerf gun battles, sometimes even without ammo.
Kyle and Brady are weathering quarantine perfectly fine for the most part. Their #1 favorite activity is playing games online with their friends. Kyle’s other favorite activities include inventing new languages, making up fictitious countries and creating long histories for them and maps and alphabets and national anthems. He watches videos about world cultures—a favorite YouTube show is Geography Now which he sometimes makes me play in the car so we can listen to the show’s brief introductions to countries all around the world.
The point is, they are perfectly happy spending their days at home on the computer. The “Safer at Home” period of our lives has been hardest on me because I do better with social interaction and getting outside. These weeks remind me of the weeks before Kyle was born, when I was on a self-imposed maternity leave (I was a freelance producer at the time, between jobs) and all my friends were still working and I just stayed at home all the time. It rained for days and days, just like now. I remember feeling stuck at home, lonely, and in need of connection. Blogging helped a lot.
So maybe this is the inspiration for me to start up again. Not as many people read this now that I am mostly active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (like many of my OG blogger colleagues), but that doesn’t matter as much. This blog was always for me, and I am so glad it’s still here.
But again, this post isn’t about me! It’s about Kyle and his birthday. Forgive me if I’m rambling and scattered…I blame the pandemic.
I’ve been stressing out about how to make Kyle’s birthday special, and facing the same challenge in a week for Brady’s birthday. There’s not much we can do. Others are doing drive-by parades and Zoom birthday parties, but most of Kyle’s friends are far-flung. I don’t know most of his local friends or their families because they are kids he knows from school and God forbid I show my face around his high school and embarrass him. I haven’t been active in the kids’ schools like I once was (that is a completely different story) and that part—not knowing his friends or their families—is definitely something I miss.
So in the end, after crowd-sourcing ideas and looking at what others are doing for their own kids, I settled on a pile of presents (i.e. a bunch of cards with money in them because all he wants for his birthday is to collect money to buy new computer parts), takeout for dinner from the restaurant of his choice, a 15-minute Zoom greeting with our family and friends from all over the country while he blows out the birthday candles on the cake (that may or may not require me to borrow eggs from neighbors like it’s 1959), and hopefully, if he allows it, a family game night or something. To make it a day that is not exactly like yesterday or tomorrow. To make it special, because he deserves it.
Happy 15th birthday to the kid who changed my life.