Coping. More or less.

We’re not great at our house. With massive spread in Iowa, M’s college will not be conducting in-person classes this fall. This news was a crushing blow to the whole family, though of course to M most of all. Through each successive loss over the last few months, the countdown to moving out on her own and starting college was the bright spot in her future that made everything else bearable.

We’re not sure what she’s going to do. The college is offering online learning, but none of us are thrilled with this option. Even if classes are better than high school (which they will certainly be, since high school classes were mostly not very good), Cute W and I have gone on and on about how college is so much more than just the classes–it’s the people she meets and the community and everything beyond academics that makes it so special. That said, we’re trying not to trash an online experience too much because the alternative is a gap year, and the college may or may not approve her request for a gap year. It is unclear what her chances are at this point, but we have–oh, joy!–a Zoom meeting about it tonight.

Meanwhile, M is scrambling to try to find other things that she could possibly do instead of college for the next year. Cute W and I have always been strongly pro-gap year, but M never wanted to do it before. She was so excited to get to college. And of course in normal times, a gap year is the perfect chance to travel, but no other countries want us to visit them right now. So that sucks. M is looking into jobs and volunteer opportunities where she could potentially get housing as well. We are doing what we can to help her, but really, this is her project, so beyond throwing out suggestions and editing cover letters, there’s not much that we can do for her. She is working her butt off and it is both super-impressive and heartbreaking to watch.

So! That’s what’s going on here. I’m on the verge of tears a lot. The girls are so unhappy and there seems to be no end in sight. But we remain healthy and employed with a full pantry, so I try to be grateful for that in between bouts of cursing the pandemic and the buffoonery of those who won’t take appropriate actions to control it.

On a lighter note, here are two pictures I stored away to share with you.

One of the challenges of having the kids home all the time is that they’re in the kitchen constantly. And they really do their best to clean up after themselves, but it feels like it’s never quite right. There will be clear evidence that someone used the flour and then wiped the whole counter and didn’t notice flour on the floor. Or they’ll decide to cut up the watermelon and “tidy up” in ways that would never occur to me and that, frankly, I just can’t support. Like, okay, good effort and creativity with the rubber bands, but couldn’t you cut up more than your single serving and put it in a container in the fridge? It’s a little crazy-making.

Growing up, I had heard that fashions come back, but it never would have occurred to me that anyone could look at those high-waisted jeans from the mid-1980s and choose to wear them again. My kids have repeatedly admired and even purchased jeans where I literally think that they can’t be serious and they must be messing with me, and then I realize that they actually think that these awful clothes are cute. The photo above was one item the girls liked while online shopping. Oh my Lord, those are not a flattering choice.

But I’ll try to squelch my kitchen possessiveness issues and I will absolutely sponsor purchases of horrendous fashions if it will bring even fleeting moments of joy to the house right now.


  1. Jo Anne Assini

    At the nail salon today I heard that we can fly to and travel in Poland. Perhaps there is something for Maddie there? The history alone is amazing.

  2. Claire

    I’m so sorry for your daughter. The saddest thing is that it didn’t have to be that way, if only the other governors had taken proper precautions to keep their infection rates down (and how about a cohesive pandemic approach on a national level?). On another note, thank you for sharing that photo of the shorts. That was good comic relief.

  3. Thanks, Claire. Yes, I feel so rage-filled about this mismanagement of the whole thing. I can’t imagine how rage-filled folks who’ve lost relatives to COVID must be feeling.

  4. Claire

    I feel the same way Katie. My anger about this reached the point where I wondered if I needed to see a therapist about it. But I do think it’s justified.

  5. Ah, yes. I was saying to Cute W, “Maybe I need some anti-anxiety medication to take the edge off!” It’s really hard not to be tremendously angry and anxious all the time.

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