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Another Purim

Hey APW,

Let me tell you a little pandemic story. On Wednesday I had finished my workday, and had started my nightly Peloton workout. It started pretty simply. I asked David to refill my water bottle while I kept running. But because we are all pushed to our absolute limit by this pandemic, he rolled his eyes at me and acted somewhere between put out and mock put out. And friends? I lost it. Because it is always the little things that break you, because the big things are too unfathomable to manage.

I started crying. Like the ugly crying that comes from the bottom of your gut. It was like a year full of tears broke through the damn at once. I started crying and crying—audible, gasping for air sobbing. But I kept working out… hard. I could barely see the screen because of the tears but when they told me to add resistance, I added it. When they told me to go faster, I did. Between the tears and the sweat there was water literally everywhere. Then I finished my workout… and more ridiculously, I finished my cool down, and then I went into the bathroom and kept crying. And crying. And crying.

I was crying at the way, as a mother, I’ve been asked to light my career on fire for the last 12 months. I was crying over the fact that when the business I built from scratch needed me the most, I couldn’t show up. I was crying over my oldest kid’s terrible mental health from isolation. I was crying over the fact that my kids haven’t seen the inside of a classroom—or basically any other child—for a year. I was crying over the way society has failed us all—the mothers, the caregivers, the children, the nurses, the doctors, the 500,000+ dead… and that list could go on and on forever.

And then I got up and put my kids to bed, because really… what else was there to do?

Today is Purim though. It’s a day where the Jewish people work to magnify joy, in the face of surviving a plot to murder all the Jews in Persia. It’s a day where we celebrate Esther risking her life to speak truth to power. It’s a day where we dress up in costumes, give away food and cookies, have huge meals, read the story of Esther, use our noisemakers, and get drunk (yup, that’s a religious expectation). It also marks the one-year anniversary of the pandemic on the Jewish calendar. Last year everything shut down right before or right after Purim, depending on where you were. Last year, people went to Purim parties, they wore only costume masks but used lots of hand sanitizer because we didn’t know better yet. Last year, infections passed from person to person at Purim parties, and people died in the weeks that followed.

In this moment there is some hope. Some people in our lives have gotten vaccines. We finally set up an outside studio in our yard (it only took six months to get delivered), and I have my office and a Kindergarten schoolhouse in it. But there is darkness, too. We are, personally, months away from getting our own shots. Schools here have no plans to reopen and we’re desperately trying to find a private school placement for our struggling children, something we never planned to do. Our hospitals are still packed. Our kids are in emotional distress. We are in emotional distress.

But all we can really do is move onwards. Sob, move, put on costumes, celebrate what we can, eat cookies, drink wine. And most of all, hope for a brighter tomorrow.

How are you holding up? It’s your open thread, hit it.

xo
Meg

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