Negotiating [my daughter] Lola’s emotions and deciding information that’s important for her to know so that she doesn’t feel blind-sighted by everything. It’s a constant filter of me trying to balance my emotions–having fellowship with friends–but deciding what she can and can’t hear. That’s a constant dance. Kids need to know enough information to satiate them, and the extra stuff is just all our extra stuff. That’s something I’m learning to be better at–just filtering information. There’s so much she understands, but there is so much she just doesn’t need to know. That’s a dance that I do all day long. Trying to keep myself informed and balanced–talking to friends on the phone, and talking about peoples’ emotions and fears–she doesn’t need to hear that. It’s hard.
What was most important to you before you had to social distance?
Paying bills, working–everyday things–I was getting ready for Bedwetter [the play] to start, so I was trying to spend a lot of time with her before because I knew I was going to go into a rehearsal and tech process. Now I have all the time in the world with her. I was doing all the things everyone was doing. Trying to balance work with mom-ing and socializing.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when this is over?
Probably hug a lot of people and I think just hold people’s hands. I do feel connected to people still. We think of an extrovert as someone who’s outgoing, or likes going out, or likes being around people, but I’ve actually learned that true extroverts like myself actually feed off other people’s energy. I do need fellowship with people, and I do need to converse and collaborate with people; that actually feeds me. I always knew I was a people person, but I don’t think that I grasped how much my happiness relies on other people being happy, or making other people happy, or being with people and conversing with people. I didn’t think that was something I needed. That’s something I’ve learned. I think I’ll cherish that energy exchange between people more than I ever did before. I didn’t know that was something I needed, I just thought that was something I liked.
What are you doing to pass the time?
Reading articles, a lot of organizing, playing games with Lola, TikTok. I’ve been catching up with people while she’s in virtual school. A lot of organizing which makes me feel good–I think when your home is less chaotic, your life is less chaotic. Netflix.
What makes you happy right now?
Spending time with Lola–just getting to do things–just sitting and cuddling on the couch. Time right now is really a gift. Everything I do as a human is fairly rushed because I try and fit so many things in and be everything that I want to be. None of it is rushed or forced right now, and it’s nice. She’s going to look back at this time as “this was the time I just had my mom’s undivided attention.” It’s a real eye-opener for how not-quality our time has been in the past. All she wants to do is watch a Harry Potter movie with me. There was no time to fit in a three-hour movie. Now there is.
What would you tell yourself two months ago with the knowledge you have today? What is the biggest realization you’ve had through this time?
Hoard toilet paper.
I think I would just tell myself to just value every chance little meeting. You run into someone on the street all the time and that could be the last time you see them for a minute. That sounds so morbid, but this is just a big lesson in valuing the time that we get together. It’s sort of a metaphor for life. You don’t really know when the last time you’re going to see someone is. You say that, but generally that realization comes when we’ve had loss–because then you realize the scope of life. I haven’t had immediate loss, but I do value the time and the experiences and energy exchange more. I find this situation a loss of our community. We don’t know when this is going to end. We look back whenever we’ve experienced loss and you think “hug your friends a little tighter. Hug your family a little tighter.” This is the ultimate metaphor for that. I just didn’t realize how much I needed other people. Community and fellowship is really important. I’m at a next level of gratitude for sure.