It’s been a while. First, there was summer. It was, by far, the fastest summer of my life. As usual, my children (ages 12 and 8) were home, so there was no writing to be done. But we made the most of it: swimming, family time, small adventures, camps, and more. Though I’m always sad to see summer go, I’m even gladder in my heart of hearts to know Fall is right around the corner. Here, in the mountains, it’s a glorious thing.
Of course, with the ending of summer has come the inevitable news that we are not through with Covid-19, not by a long shot. The new Delta variant is scarily contagious; my own extended family dealt with a bout of it after contracting it from an outdoor birthday party. Here, where we live, the debates over whether to mask our children in schools or not has been a long and infuriating one. At our recent school board meeting, a blustering, fear-mongering politician incited upset: and I watched, online, as our county’s most beloved and devoted pediatrician stood up in defense of common sense and science. The school board decided to follow the politician, and his yelling compatriots, over a man who has served the children of this county faithfully and well for a lifetime.
Which is all to say, it’s been a lot. Any parent sending, or who sent, their children back to school in August–who continues to send their children to school each day–lives on a precipice, clinging to the hope that “all will be well.” We do this in spite of case numbers rising, especially in children. We do this in spite of our nurse friends telling us how the hospitals are full of unvaccinated Covid patients, while other patients facing heart or respiratory problems, broken bones, and more, are forced to wait long hours to be seen.
There have been parents raising children during every major event in this country and world–including war, famine, and natural disaster. But I’d be so bold as to say that parenting during a global pandemic, with fellow citizen parents fighting each other over whether to believe science and doctors about that health crisis, may be unique. And that’s a nice way to put it.
So. I have coped, as I’ve done since I was four years-old, by reading. I’ve likely read more books over this summer than I have any other summer of my life, and that’s saying something, considering I’ve been an unapologetic book addict my entire life. To end this post on a high note, I’ll leave you with a few of the books I particularly enjoyed:
Grown-Ups by Marian Keyes ~ funny, dialogue-driven, full of Irish slang, with a brilliant style of plotting
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow ~ genre-bending epic with a completely unique heroine
and a ton of beauty and heart
How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith ~ my husband and I were introduced to Smith and his work on a long road trip, as we listened to Smith being interviewed by Brene Brown about this work. It’s smart, deeply felt, empathetic, and important.
I Hold a Wolf By the Ears by Laura Van Den Berg ~ short fiction full of women on the precipice; “unsettling,” honest, and richly drawn
I also listened to several of podcasts:
Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us
Kelly Corrigan’s Kelly Corrigan Wonders
Glennon Doyle and her sister Amanda’s We Can Do Hard Things
Krista Tippet’s On Being
I read and listened to these things because I find hope and solace in stories, perhaps because stories are something we all share, no matter what.
I hope as we move through these truly unique times that you take care of yourself and your neighbors, and find solace and comfort in the stories which move you.