I’m trying something.
It’s become one of my favorite responses when I ask my teen what she’s doing. It immediately fills me with curiosity, fear, and thrill in equal parts. A microcosm of parenting and it’s about to walk out of the bathroom.
Mveater, I want to thank you. I took your comment advice and we tried out Ginger’s Ice Cream in Mar Vista. We might not have actually come from the salty shores of Cape Cod, but something about the freestanding ice cream parlor with frozen treats pinted in mason jars could’ve fooled me. And the fact that we had come from checking out those bioluminescent waves (amazing!) lent to spectacular “are we on vacation?” feels.
One of the great upsides of quarantine. Anything more than a walk to your kitchen qualifies as a great adventure.
God it felt good.
The synaptic spark of new stimulus, the awakening that accompanies the sensory shake-up, shades up, sensation of travel. The vacancies of such. Listen. These are not big challenges. They’re just mine.
The weeks are going faster, have you noticed? It is getting closer and closer to feeling like a time where everything pre-pandemic feels distant and blurry and wait was that even this year? Was January still this year? Is it really only May? And with this time travel I have watched my pre-teen transform into a full blown, fully formed almost fourteen-year-old. She’s taken two dimensions to the next level; tiktoking and Outerbanksing and Ian Somerhaldering with her friends, she and Netflix Party have got this distance thing down. Tie-dying and making acai bowls and when she wants to hang with me, I am forced to confront, achingly, this gift might come with an expiration date. It tugs and it tightens something I’m grateful is not Corona, but it might be a universal symptom, equally contagious, shared by every parent at some Kafka curve in their long and windy road. It is their right to grow up. Just as we’re learning now, more than maybe ever before, it’s a damn privilege to grow old.
Keep us from forgetting.
It can feel almost biblical, right now. The universality. The reminders. The utter unsubtlety of it all.
Killer hornets? And now those cicadas? Is this all for real?
I’m reading The Choice, by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. Anyone looking for a light summer read, read absolutely anything but this. It is breathtakingly good, but light as an anvil. And unloads perspective by the boatload unto any of us who are dog paddling in our personal pity parties of one (present). Which is still okay, or so I console myself, long as we get out of the shallow end eventually. Anyway, incredible book. Possibly transformative.
I lopped my daughter’s hair – the almost fourteen-year-old. I didn’t mean to. It was just the first time I was handed a scissors and asked to go for it. She is experimenting with headbands and much, much hair product.
Her sister and her father have declined my subsequent offers on the same. I’ve been asked to put the scissors down.
Meanwhile, Annie, the eleven-year-old, she’s got some beautiful things happening in her creative circles. She and her crew of 6-8 neighborhood kids who didn’t so much as know each other’s names before March, now distantly hang daily, hours and hours on end, roller skates and scooters and bikes and big plans for once “this is all over.”
Will there be an “all over”?
They made a happy face in petals on the pavement. Gigantic. Adorable. I probably should have asked where all the petals came from.
She also woke me up at 3am to inquire if the window in her room could be categorized as a bay window. Yes. I understand the urgency but please, please go back to sleep.
We all watched Becoming, and while I marvelled at how much I miss Michelle (beyond words, woman, beyond words), I couldn’t help but simultaneously wonder, are book signings another thing we must relegate to the rear-view mirror? So crazy. But all that hand shaking…
We adjusted to seatbelts. Sunblock. Are masks our new normal?
Nate n Als! Not dead yet! Enola, did you see?
People are doing such amazing things with this time, I’ve said it before, but it warrants a repeat. Big Sunday with its Foot the Bill Fund? Canvas, Lynn Hutchinson composing something musical and magical every Sunday, still? There is ingenuity happening at its philanthropic finest. Still, there is no sourdough starting here.
There’s an email in my inbox from Martha Stewart. Eleven Things You’re Forgetting to Clean.
I feel bad about calling The Choice light as an anvil. The woman survived Auschwitz as a teenager and to this day ends her lectures with a high kick. She will blow your mind in all the best ways. I recommend it with every endorsement I can ring, even Bill Gates recommends it. And everyone knows our lives run parallel.
I don’t know what to read next (that Crawdad’s one?) and I’m wondering if you watched Unorthodox too. We just started. Late to the party but I’m liking it.
Puzzles, petals, pushing still pause and fast forward at the same time. Still, every day, by the end of the day, it sneaks in. That small magic of getting through. The miracle of hearing your daughter contribute to a history discussion on Zoom. The lip biting pride when you hear the same child inquire with the same teacher, “do we have to do that, or is it optional?”
Camps have called it. Beaches are kind of open but if you so much as sit still y’gotta go (I’m still having trouble understanding this one). Saving summer has become an art of creative problem solving. My story, as you can see, is a rather ordinary one, inside a pretty extraordinary time. But I must say I am enamoured with yours. Your stories about how tracking your packages has become your new passion. How you saw a bear (an honest to God BEAR, AND her cub) in your backyard (which otherwise you may have let in, but, no mask). How you felt so accomplished finishing one of those you tube PopSugar cardio routines only to find out at the end it was for new moms. Whatever. New is relative.
Your stories spark a flicker inside all of us that is aching to be empathized, crying for a laugh, welcoming a community that is, in all its backwards irony, maybe the largest we’ll ever belong to. So please, let’s keep telling our stories. Unmasked and close enough to touch. Let’s.
Oh. And she was tying friendship bracelet string into her hair. Her short, shoulder length, not even remotely evenly cut hair, that something she was trying, my Sydnie. It helped her feel the “summer vibes.”
Which these days seems as good a goal as any.
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.