My daughter’s graduation celebration was supposed to be last weekend, but it was cold and drizzly out and I had a migraine and the graduation video I was making for her wasn’t done. She was only a few days into quarantine, and…the time just wasn’t right.
One of the rules of the pandemic seems to be that there are no rules of pandemic, so you can have your grad party any time you want to. Or when the weather and your migraines are cooperating. So we had it yesterday.
I would like to share heartwarming photos with you, but I didn’t take any. I was too busy being fully present in the moment. I might regret that later, but I might not.
There were only four of us, and we’re all pretty quiet by nature, so it wasn’t a rager. But it was really nice. For the video, I asked many people who have been important in my daughter’s life to record a message they’d like to share with her. In real life, we’d never have been able to gather all of them in our backyard (divorce, geographic distance), so we got to feel their presence without awkward tensions or social exhaustion. For the first time since 2008, my daughter got to have her whole family in the same place on a momentous occasion. Sorta.
We partied social distance style, which means imperfectly. Grace is still in quarantine (sorta), which means that we all sat outside at least 6 feet away from each other. I rearranged the cozy patio layout to put more distance between the seats. I served only takeout or individually wrapped food (no communal bowls of chips), using disposable plates and cutlery. Her best friend, B., and I reminisced at one point about her visit during the Christmas holidays, which feels so long ago, where I had made food and we had sat close to each other around a table, and she had been full of hopes and plans that have mostly evaporated.
Like everything right now, yesterday was both lesser and more than, simultaneously.
Would we have all teared up watching messages of love to my daughter in our pre-March world? Would the messages have been as heartfelt? I doubt it, and there’s a gift in that. I tried not to project ahead to the winter holidays, where we might not be able to gather even in this limited way. But I did, a little. I just glanced at that possibility in my mind, and then let it push me back into the present with more appreciation for it than I’d had even the minute before.
Yesterday was also the day the New York Times released a cover page with a list of 1,000 dead from C-19. (Click here if you’d like to be able to read it, not just see it.) That’s only 1% of people who will not get to attend any celebrations of any kind this weekend, nor will they get to live through a diminished holiday season come winter. My head today is full of thoughts and questions about the future. When I look ahead to the fall and winter, it is hard to feel anything but anxiety and fear. So I’m looking at my kitchen right now, filled with the remains of yesterday’s celebration, grateful to have such a mess to clean.
I don’t have much to offer this week. I missed my usual Sunday posting here, for the first time in months. I just couldn’t, and I gave myself permission to be OK with that, and this morning I reminded myself that earlier, I’d given myself permission to sometimes do this badly. So here I am, offering the best I’ve got right now:
Late is better than never. Doing something imperfectly is better than not doing it at all. We should do what we can, however we can, while we can. Later, we’ll be glad we did.
Wishing all of you reading a peaceful week.