lucky couples

Need I tell you, this runaway pandemic is taking its toll. Days are long(er) and monotonous. Calvin hasn't been in school since March; he won't keep a mask on his face and we can't risk him getting Covid and bringing it home. He can't even remotely access a remote non-academic education, mostly because he is incapable of attending to a screen, but also because it is yet unclear what simple abstractions—like interpreting a talking head on a small monitor—he can comprehend (not to mention he bites and chews and bangs the crap out of everything.) While other parents might wish their kids would get out from under their electronic devices, Michael and I pine for a day when ours could sit quietly just to watch a movie or video so we could get something done. Instead, and likely due to drug side effects both current and residual, Calvin is pretty much in constant motion. He just can't sit still.

So, my days are spent with my son in tow, traipsing around the house and yard and sidewalk as long as there is not too much ice or snow. I give him a bath, feed him, go for long car rides looping along back roads with a few essential glimpses of the water to keep me (mostly) lucid. Every morning before Michael heads to his studio, and on most evenings if he gets home early enough, I walk Smellie to the fields, ducking into the wooded trails along the perimeter.

On these outings, I see lots of bicyclists, walkers and runners. I watch duos strolling along winding roads. I see couples walking frisky new puppies and lumbering mutts with grizzled muzzles. I see twosomes in their bright running and biking regalia pumping up gradual rises and flying down hills. My first reaction when I see these folks is one of solidarity; I'm glad people are getting out and about in all kinds of weather. Strangers or not, it's good to see them. Then, as they disappear over my shoulder or in my rear view window, I realize—during the pandemic—how impossible it has been for Michael and me to catch a break together as a couple. I realize that our friends virtually never see us alone together. Sigh.

Because Calvin can't stay home by himself like other teens, there's no chance for Michael and me to head to the forest or beach for a morning stroll together, no chance to grab takeaway burritos and sit on a park bench, or plan a seaside picnic. And the difficulty in doing so is not just during the pandemic. Our kid will never grow up. He'll never spend a day with a friend. He'll never go on a sleepover. He'll never take a job. He'll never go off to college or travel abroad. He may never even move out of the house.

If this sounds like a pity party, it is. I allow myself to indulge once in a while, though I'm not looking for sympathy; everyone has their struggles. And to be fair, dear friends of ours have offered to take care of Calvin while Michael and I go off on our own but, pandemic or not, that is easier said than done by either party.

So for now, at least, the four of us (we take Smellie everywhere) will climb into the car for our weekend drives. We'll put Smellie on the leash and Calvin in the stroller whenever we can get some fair weather. We'll hang out in our robes until late into the morning, sometimes listening to music, drinking extra stovetop espresso, eating eggs and toast or bran or oatmeal, watching pre-recorded late night comedy. We'll continue putting Calvin to bed before six, hoping he goes to sleep without too much trouble so we can enjoy a quiet evening together. And I'll keep taking my daily drive, feeding Calvin finger food from the driver's seat while spying other lucky couples making their way home or down the road a spell for a glimpse of the water.

Simpson's Point, almost noon.