Marking Time

My feral offspring in their natural habitat

As of tomorrow afternoon, we homeschooling parents will have reached the end of our first quarter—a supremely comforting thought. Michigan schools shut down with twelve weeks to go in the year, and assuming they don’t open again until September, we’re one fourth done with our pre-summer duties. One fourth is a significant portion. At the end of next week comes one third. Two weeks more, and we’re halfway there (whoa-oa, livin’ on a prayer). And who ever knew Bon Jovi could be so prescient?

When it comes to life without the presence of an imminent threat, I try to resist counting down the days. I wasted years longing for an end to the epochs I was living through—the end of high school, the end of college, the end of an everlasting pregnancy. I have an unfortunate tendency to treat chunks of time as flat, colorless lands to be crossed as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, I gain nothing, and I lose the deeper experience of so many moments.

Right now, though, I’m taking a slightly different tack. Yes, I am trying to open myself up to this time, to truly live it in all of its strangeness and terror. But I am also grateful that our current anxiety is meted out in the small parcels of seconds that string themselves together and never, ever stop. I’m grateful that, even on days when our lives feel like they’re falling fantastically apart, we are still moving the needle one day closer to this all being over. Time will bring this epoch to an end, even if all we can do is wait.

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