Q-Day 365 – Where We Are Now

To say this has been one hell of a year – like nothing I could have ever imagined – would be the understatement of a lifetime. One year ago, I could not have predicted all the things that would change. I could not have predicted where we would be today.

Our schools have been virtual for most kids, for over a year now. School remains virtual for V, though her school is continuing to expand face-to-face instruction. Where once V was staying mostly with her dad out of safety concerns, it eventually became her choice to remain with him and – rather than having a reasonable, co-parenting, conversation about her desire to move permanently to his home, he chose to file an emergency petition for custody full of all kinds of accusations, which ultimately became litigation.

The short version of the outcome: I have chosen to give up custody and let her go – before we went to court and my kids would have to testify against their mother. I won’t battle with lies and cruelty and hatred, and that is where they choose to reside right now. I will always love them, but the pain they’ve caused me over the last several months will not just magically go away. I’m walking away from it. All that man has ever done is try to destroy me, and this time he tried to use the kids to do it. Now he can lie in the bed he made with all the things he wanted and I am finally… Free.

A year later, I haven’t finished my novel, or any scrapbook, or any home renovation project (short of the laundry room which still needs a few details cleaned up). The grocery shelves are stocked and there’s no visible shortage of anything. We are still wearing masks for the foreseeable future – experts tell us it’s likely another year.  More than 107 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, and I was lucky to be one of them back in December. Todd is on the list, but hasn’t gotten the call yet. V will be eligible after her 16th birthday, likely sometime in June.

The ’68 Mustang is restored, all but for some detailing on the paint and chrome and we took her out for her maiden voyage on Sunday with windows down and it was glorious. Todd asked if it brought back memories of riding in his ‘64-1/2 when we were 17, but unfortunately… some memories are fleeting. The most potent memories – the shareable ones, anyway – are riding in the VW Superbeetle.

We remain close to home, mostly. We’ve seen family sporadically, but not recently. There’s a legitimate concern for everyone getting their vaccine and also for the variations that are springing up around the country. Of the five parents, 3 have had their vaccine. Getting a vaccine in PA is like Mission Impossible, according to my mom.

We’ve not seen friends. Haven’t had a Zoom meeting in months. Everyone seems to have fallen into this pattern of isolation. Some friends I’ve noticed are going out anyway, which troubles me but I cannot focus on everyone else, anymore. We had one positive COVID diagnosis in the family, but this person was asymptomatic and a second test was negative so there is a question of whether they actually were positive.

Businesses have been reopened for a long time now, so that we can get haircuts and dogs groomed and buy stuff in person. The two of us bought A LOT of stuff online and we’re not sorry. Retail therapy has been very, very good to me this past year. We could start our own shipping company with all the boxes we had. I joined two subscription services – one for my girls (Barkbox) and one for me (books). Restaurants maintain capacity limits and Todd and I have only ordered take-out.

I miss our parties. I miss eating out and going away. I miss hugs. Not that Todd’s aren’t sufficient – only that I miss hugging other people, like my mom, and friends, and even… V, who stopped hugging me last September after the aforementioned emergency petition was signed. I miss O’s hugs too, when he would lift me off my feet. I miss his eyes, and the days so much could pass between us without a single word.

The panic and anxiety has waned a bit as we’ve all grown accustomed to this new normal, and our ability to get goods and services is no longer cut off. Not to mention the hope of a more stable government and administration. I have all but lost interest in the day-to-day reporting of who said what and what so-and-so is doing now. I’m not so naïve to believe all is well, but I have chosen serenity and I don’t watch or read the news anymore. It’s all designed to keep us jacked up and worried and in fight-mode. Today, that’s a hard pass for me.

Today’s Quote: And yet, life as an autonomous woman is not a song. It’s a scream, a war; it’s a daily struggle against the easy option of obeying. I could have obeyed, could have lived less dangerously, ventured nothing, failed at nothing. ~ The Little French Bistro

Today’s Stats:

Mental Health: 7, for the aforementioned reasons and not to be too optimistic.

Physical Health: 8 optimistically, though I’ve regained the pounds I lost; I count my daily steps now and, without effort, the count is always above 7,000 daily.

Paper Supplies: (for fun) 10. No needs or worries.

Alcohol: Yes.

Book: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell.

Cumulative # of pants/underwear destroyed by Shuggie: 6

Today’s T-Shirt: Chilly day, blue polo under a sweatshirt.

Miscellaneous Tidbits:

In ancient Rome, March was the first month of the year.

Today is National Awkward Moments Day. I’m going to celebrate a coworker’s awkward moment where she said to a dad (having mistaken him for one of our delivery guys), “that’s quite a package you got there.”

It is also National Forgive Mom and Dad Day. So – mom, I forgive you for making me go to work with a hangover, and dad, I forgive you for re-telling the story of your 4-year-old daughter’s very public tantrum in a department store whereby you refused to claim her.

The bark of older Redwood and Sequoia trees builds up over time – up to one foot thick – to protect them from the elements, which can make them fire-resistant. I may use this as an analogy to my own resilience, now at 51.

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