pandemic diaries: this is how it ended

Okay, I know the pandemic isn't exactly over, but the 2020-21 school year is! Hooray!! In fact, the kids are already a couple of days into week FOUR of their summer break, that's how early Oakland schools get out. So how did the year end? 

Post distance learning feels.

Well, in a nutshell, as a marathoner (I've run more than one marathon so yes, that makes me a marathonER), I can confidently say it was very much like the last .2 miles of the race. After a grueling metaphorical 26 miles, those last 6 weeks (the .2 miles in this race metaphor) were just a slog, day after day, juggling full-time work and 24/7 kids and endless snacks and cleaning up after all that eating and trying to maintain some semblance of a healthy routine and a positive attitude. The 2nd grader's hybrid return to minimal in-person schooling in late March was a drag logistically, but of course we did it because we knew she'd enjoy - and benefit from - the social interactions with her teacher and classmates. We also, a month or so earlier, recognized the urgent need for our kids to safely socialize with at least one good friend or two, so planning backyard playdates and weekly hikes was another thing to do and make happen.

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

In a nutshell, why yes, I'd say I was definitely languishing. But then Daphne came home from one of her in-person afternoons one week having made me this. So this is what I'll remember.

On a positive note, though, while the middle schooler didn't return to any in-person instruction at all this year, he was able to do his band concert report on a real, live performance after reporting on two recorded concerts in previous semesters. It was also our first time at Yoshi's, which is kind of nuts considering how long we've lived in Oakland.

Anyway, at last the school year was over. The kids and I celebrated with traditional end-of-year froyo at Yogurt Park near Cal Berkeley. If you know, you know.

Later that long weekend I toasted the end of the school year with some fellow room mamas (in person!), ending my four-year tenure as room parent coordinator, an unpaid gig I took on when I wasn't working (but now I am, full-time, and especially after this crazy year, I'm very much looking forward to a break).

Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge in Alameda

In other news, Daphne planted some sunflower seeds she got from her garden teacher earlier this spring. It's not sourdough bread, but the results have a very early pandemic project vibe.

Another article about how the pandemic has impacted working parents, especially mothers, in the workplace made the rounds. Here is my reaction to it, including a thread of posts I've written about it over the years right here on this blog.

And, um, okay, so I guess I'm not the only one feeling like the pandemic has dramatically altered my social life forever. Desperately seeking a post-pandemic perimenopausal posse. I've been really enjoying Jessica Grose's writing on the topic, and even put together a reading list so let me know if you'd like to join my book club.


Otherwise, I successfully snuck in little chunks of studio time over the last several weeks of the school year and I'm hoping to do this a bit more consistently this summer (and beyond, if all goes well and kids return to in-person school in the fall), kind of digging where this project is going. I started a new Instagram account devoted just to my creative practice and related shenanigans (looking at art, etc.). I've also been very keen to start work on season two of the podcast, but worry if I do, it'll take up all the little bits of time I need in the studio. Which is fitting since that's kind of what season two is all about. Sigh.

As a family unit, we are now 75% vaxxed! 

In local foodie news, we discovered the vegan pizza from Square Pie Guys, which might be my favorite yet, and bought some fancy vodka for a good cause (design by Oakland-based artist Shogun Shido, for the fundraising collaboration between Treecraft Distillery and Oakland Art Murmur - read more about it here). 

So, yeah, an enthusiastic cheers to the end of the weirdest school year we've experienced as parents. Let's hope we never have to do that again.

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