I spent a good chunk of time in the kitchen this weekend baking. Banana bread using the three over-ripe bananas no one would eat. Chocolate chip cookies for comfort, baking 16 cookies and freezing the remainder of the dough. And two loaves of sourdough bread from the starter I began earlier in the week. It was all absolutely necessary to keep myself busy – hands-on tasks that required timing and attention. It was all unnecessary as well – we do not need a kitchen full of baked goods, although no one is complaining.
I know I am not alone when I say I am feeling very fraught. I had moments this weekend where I felt good and happy and productive. Then something small would happen – the yarn I was winding got tangled, the bread dough stuck to the dish cloth, the dishwasher wasn’t run – and my frustration level would skyrocket. Seemingly small, annoying things that I usually would let slide threw me into a (self-contained) hissy fit. And then I would be angry with myself for reacting so fiercely, for not being able to handle the situation with more grace. In the same moment, I logically understand that what we are all experiencing is difficult and scary. No wonder my mood can change in an instant.
I see it in my girls, too. Kate is a high school senior, missing all those year-end, traditional events. Right now she is definitely out until May 4th, but her last school day is supposed to be May 6th. She won’t be going back. The IB tests were cancelled – so disappointing after two years of hard work as a IB student. Her graduation is up in the air. She is worried that she’ll start college online, at home, missing that freshman experience. Jane is home from Colorado, three-quarters of the way through her sophomore year of college and feeling robbed of her friends. At her school, they take one class at a time for three and a half weeks and the one she has now is an archival history class where they were supposed to go on field trips to look at the primary documents. Instead, they are meeting via Zoom every day. She is not enjoying the experience and is missing the in-person interaction with her classmates and professor. She is supposed to study abroad in the fall and has convinced herself that it won’t happen.
I don’t know what to tell these girls except that we are all disappointed right now. Collectively, as a world. And that it is ok to be disappointed and angry and sad. I am all those things, too. I am trying not to project too far in the future – maybe just a week or ten days ahead. Easier said than done, but really important I think. We don’t know what will happen. We don’t know when the isolation will end. There is a lot to be happy about, thought. We do have each other and all the streaming movies and TV we can consume. There are books to read, projects to make, things to bake. The weather has been nice and we can be outside. Maybe if we focus on the positive, the rest will seem less scary? I sure hope so.
I just reread everything that I have written and I thought about deleting it all. I don’t want to come off as negative. I am, however, feeling all the feelings this morning and I don’t want to pretend that I am not. Along those lines, I found this article helpful. Maybe you will, too? “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief”