The night air hangs crisply around me as I sit on a cold stone bench listening to the marching band.
I can see every star and that amazes me since we are in town— light pollution everywhere.
I am thoroughly exhausted. I do get scared. But I still feel, even through this lonely melancholy, so much hope and thankfulness.
It’s a hard world out there right now, and I’ve been job hunting, building a business, volunteering with a local non-profit as their communications director and fostering feral kittens— in addition to parenting not one but two teenagers.
This crazy conglomeration of circumstances has brought me a great amount of joy as I try not to disappoint these teenagers, the cockatoo, or any of the 14 cats. Oh wait— that’s 13 now. We get rehome the black one and now we have 13 cats? That can’t be good.
I’ve used some of this time under the pandemic to expand my make-up looks.
And my lack of steady income has led me to search for the best bargains possible… Got this toilet paper at CVS for $3.61.
And as the days turn cold, I found my favorite tunic nightgown and whipped out my witch socks.
In the midst of this I think of all the friends who’ve lent a helping hand… the former work colleague who sent $20 and said “do something for yourself,” the college friend who sent a random check, my estranged husband who brought over groceries when I needed them, the new friend who gave me a $25 Dunkin gift card and showed me how to apply for food stamps, the friend who emptied her cupboards, the friend who waxed my brows and did my nails…
And I am so grateful.
My food stamps came in, and tomorrow I planned to go grocery shopping.
And much to my surprise another benefactor came forward today.
These will pay for what food stamps won’t— soap, garbage bags, cat food, cat litter, maybe even a rotisserie chicken. And I won’t have to wait for $9 in Extra Bucks, a 40% off coupon, and a manufacturer coupon to go get toilet paper.
I think about my job hunt (I have three pre-interview kind of situations happening this week. Interviewing in Covid is a weird combo of essay tests, screening questions, phone calls and video chats.)
And I’ve been touring office spaces with ASPIRE to Autonomy so seeing their vision become a reality makes me happy.
I have five interns that report to me now… I love seeing them grow.
And I have a new marketing client. Most of our work together will probably be in trade as she is starting a new small business.
I still feel like something good is on the horizon.
Today one of the counties next to mine— the county where my dad lives, the county where a lot of my friends live—went on lockdown due to Covid-19. Governor’s orders.
It was day three for me of working from home and so far my average work day is 9 hours long. Not because I’m an undisciplined worker but because I work at a human services non-profit and the current health crisis impacts us as an agency and also intensifies the struggles of many of our clients.
So, I decided to revive a tradition my neighbor started with me when she first moved into my neighborhood. Every day we would text each other three things we were grateful for, and we did this for probably four months before the tradition died. The goal was to never repeat. And the items could be small. Like “I am grateful for dry socks.”
Today I’m going to share with you my pandemic gratitude list.
I am grateful for my job. It’s stressful, and I often find myself overwhelmed but my colleagues are amazing, my agency does great work, and I know I am learning so many new things I would have never had the chance to learn otherwise.
I am grateful for the reconnection happening because of the virus. Today a former colleague texted me. Yesterday a friend who moved to Florida telephoned. I hadn’t really communicated with them in probably six months, but people are trying to check in on others right now.
I am grateful for medical professionals that care. I had one doctor call me today to say he was closing his face-to-face practice for a while because of the virus and he wanted to tell me himself and be sure I knew how to reach him if I needed him. That was very kind.
I am grateful for these kittens. My human baby is going to be 16 in June. The kitten I got her for her birthday has just turned nine. It’s been a long time since we had any babies in the house. Their mischief makes me laugh and their cuddly baby selves are just heart warming.
5. I am grateful for cheap pizza. Like Little Caesars. And delivery chains like Dominos. As a stress food pizza and brownies and cool ranch Doritos never disappoint.
6. I am grateful to be more-or-less able-bodied. Yes, it can be difficult to deal with cerebral palsy. Yes, my S-1 joint gives me a lot of trouble and I wish I could afford all the chiropractor visits I need and a personal trainer to help motivate me to do my exercises but hey— it’s my body and we work well together most of the time.
7. I am grateful for eyeglasses. Without them, I would be lost.
8. I am grateful for electric blankets, thick comforters, pretty duvet covers, fluffy pillows and weighted blankets. Bed should be cozy.
9. I am grateful for birdsong. I never would have imagined the positive impact those parakeets would have on my bedroom. Their happy little chirps when the sun shines really brighten my day.
10. I am grateful for my family. That includes my wicked smart and super kind teenage daughter and her dad. He was altruistic enough to lend me his laptop when this pandemic began, so I could work from home without stealing our daughter’s laptop.
Feel free to comment below with your own pandemic gratitude list.