After nearly two months of sheltering at home and being a quasi-home school teacher, I’ve begun to wear out. Being at home is not new for me, I have been a stay-at-home-dad the entirety of the boys’ lives. Two months ago, I embraced this new pace of life, but now I feel Depression breathing on the back of my neck as it jostles for the chance to take over the lead of this dance that we do. As the trees begin to bud out I begin to feel more trapped. I am yearning to wander, and not just into the woods and meadows behind our home, but farther. I find myself more and more dependent on Instagram and short films. I’m dreaming not doing. Just as I did when I was in my twenties, dreaming and drinking because drinking was more important than doing back then. I’m not drinking now, but it’s harder somehow, not because of anything other than this pandemic.
Though I cherish and am grateful for this slower pace of life, for it suits me better, I still feel hopelessly trapped–as if it is the middle of winter and Depression is completely leading the tango and I am feeling as if there is no end in sight.
This is a change. For much of the past two months I’ve been able to focus on the day–the moment. But that is all slipping away now, or seems to be. The never-ending feeling is stronger than ever before. As the state begins to open back up, the fear of unknowing steadily grows. What-if scenarios are buzzing around like the black gnats of spring. I want school to be over, I am no teacher, and on the few sunny and warm days we’ve had this spring, I have wanted nothing more than to escape outside to a river with the boys. Despite wanting school to be done the prospect of summer and all of our plans falling apart leaves me anxiety riddled. It does not matter that I’ve been home for ten summers and made it work; this year just seems different.
The grass always seems greener on the other side, the saying goes. But the grass is never greener on the other side or down the road. The quest is to see how beautiful the grass is where you are standing in the moment. In our culture that is something we tend to balk at. We are constantly told to look for more, but looking and seeing are two different things and in times like these, seeing the moment is what must be done.
I don’t know what is to come and when the what-if’s swirl around and depression tries to take the lead, I hold fast to hope. I hold fast to the moment and the joy of discovering a new bird at the feeder or the excitement in the boys’ eyes over some simple pleasure. When we hold onto these moments and each other, then the hope will grow and maybe, just maybe, we will begin to see the beauty of this time that is right in front of us.