On The Day I Turned Forty-Three

Last Wednesday I turned 43 years old. As a present to myself I kept my kids at home for the morning and insisted that we build a nest of couches, blankets and pillows for the express purpose to be close together. This was a designated space where I could look at their faces and into their eyes and really see them and who they are becoming. My babies are changing and growing underneath my consciousness it seems. Let me call them babies. They still feel that way.

I realize it wasn't the most efficient way to parent kids who should be at school. I did send them to their classrooms after we had lunch together. But in the morning, I watched them absolutely giddy at the prospects of being together like that for a little while with nothing else to do but be smooshed and smashed together. That was all I wanted for my birthday.

Well, not all I wanted. I also checked into a hotel in Park City alone. Giving me time to be by myself is always a welcome gift to me, and it's nice to know myself well enough at this point to make it happen. I will also take alone time with Christopher, and loved it when he came up to visit with friends at the Montage where we went to a lounge show that evening, ate cheeses and had smokey drinks. I even experienced my first cigar on the grand veranda, feeling the dry chill of mountain air tinged with Spring. It was perhaps one of the best days I've ever lived.

But March 11, 2020 will always go down as the day America really started waking up to the reality of COVID-19. It was the day of the deluge. The NBA ended its season. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced they were sick. Trump announced the first social distancing measures. It was the day life would never, ever be the same again.

I am not panicked. I am not too anxious (a little maybe). But I do feel an immense call to write. I am watching my friends answer to the same call. We are sending essays back-and-forth. Artist friends are back to creating. I've watched my friends bloom in these few days with creativity and intense thought experiments. I have never been more proud to have such wild and intelligent friends. Currently, I am writing as I put out little fires here and there for my kids--all quarantined together in a household built for a big Mormon family to last until Jesus comes again. 

I want to write so many essays, as if I was holding back for a time like this--a space in my life where there would be nothing left to do but witness and write. It is a gift, but it comes with concern for those who don't have the luxury to be at home. I sincerely cling to the political calls of bailing out American's families, no matter how small or big. What good is hording money at a time like this?

Had I known this coming? Did some maternal intuition insist on keeping my children home with me, on the morning of last Wednesday when we had the slim remains of a normal life? I think so. I will always consider that the last moment before the world changed for us. 

What a gift.

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