Coron-ation

Coron-ation main photo

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.

Haircut

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.

Delete.

Petals on the pavement

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.

Author Bio:

Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.

43 Comments

  1. Jolie you are gift. You seem to touch on the universal while still being so personal. For us “older folk” it really is a damn privlidge to grow old! The constancy of being reinvented each day!!! Keep the inspirations and daily episodes of life with the Loeb’s coming. They bring such joy! Love to all.

  2. Well, were no longer in a hurry to go anywhere. We’ve both had negative readings input Corona tests…. which is satisfying knowing we cant infect anyone . Our magnolias and roses infuse our house with their gorgeous perfume. The pool is empty aside from violet jacaranda flowers which irritate my husband to no end . He cleans the pool about or even more often than I wash my hands ….(and that’s way more than double did jets). Family Saturday visit was again, weeks highlight. The bittersweet feeling pantomiming hugs still lingers. I don’t miss shopping or deciding what does or didn’t fit . I’m ironically more grateful for the life we have than ever before. Things are slower and I can see clearer. Your article was gorgeous… and The Choice truly was unparalleled.

  3. This is a correction: I wrote above about my magnolia and I meant to say gardenias. The neighbor next door has a great very old magnolia tree which has been terribly neglected since her son inherited her house. Why I mentioned I have magnolias when this isn’t even their season to bloom makes me slightly more nuts than I already am.. just sayin.

  4. What a joy it is reading your posts! It has been a real “Ground Hog Day” (as in the Bill Murray film) experience for me these past 2 + months. Teaching remotely to 4 and 5 year olds is not something I ever thought I’d be doing. But I have finally become somewhat “Tech savvy” as a result. During this time I also became a grandmother a second time, this one local, and have another one baking in San Diego. So much good to balance the not so good.
    Keep posting and keeping us informed. I can’t believe your girls are 14 and 11! How did this happen?

  5. Jolie, your writing is beautiful (always!)
    I find what you call your ordinary stories to be quite extraordinary. The best part about it all is that we have had the time to really listen to the stories, time to watch our kids grow up right in front of our eyes, time to connect in new ways, time to try new things, time to create new stories everyday.
    Thank you for sharing with us. ❤️

  6. Okay…I’m going to indulge myself for a moment…I’m honored to have seen my name and Canvas within a few character spaces of Big Sunday. Thank you for seeing us. And others. But of course, you always see everyone. And everything. You are giving words and expression to the big feels. Please keep writing for us. Every piece is a slice of therapy. Love it. Love you.

  7. You captured it again- all of it. I had to laugh. Just yesterday I accidentally did a “hard” Popsugar new mom workout too. It’s harder for “old moms” lol.,We are all connected! And I love Elaine’s line above “ Things are slower and I can see clearer.” Spot on.

  8. Julie well said I think we all can relate. In a weird way I’m getting used to this new…. I’m grateful for all this time I’ve had with my husband and kids.

  9. Jolie—ewe read your tome twice and I printed and saved it sent copies to my two sons. . You are more than an accomplished wordsmith—but a barber yet—I had no idea. Loved the pictures of your sweet family—please keep including pix in the future. You certainly brightened what has become a long string of days that need brightening!

  10. Beautifully written as always even when there isn’t that much to report. For our family it seems like every activity repeats daily. At the dinner table you can no longer ask what did you do today because we are all very aware of each persons activity in and around the house. I’m anxious to hear how creative with words you will be with the next article if this safer at home continues.

  11. Awwwww yes. The summer vibes. I want them. I need them! And I’m going to enjoy every second my teenager wants to hang out with me during this summer before high school. Thanks for sharing your story because I relate to it all! xx

  12. She’s trying something. Is there anything more we can ask of a teen trying to flourish in today’s climate than to keep at it? I don’t think so. Count it as a blessing that she has the health and freedom and desire to try new things. And friendship bracelets in hair could easily become a thing. Maybe I have one around here somewhere…

  13. Thank you for sharing Jolie! It is always a pleasure to read!! We recently were able to get a hand me down bike (because apparently bikes are as hard to get as Lysol wipes!) but the little taste of freedom for our younger two has been amazing! It totally brings their spirits up even though my blood presssure raises at the thought of them being two blocks away unsupervised!

    • HA! You get used to it! After Annie’s been out wheeling around the block for a few hours I do question if I’ve gone a little too free range in my parenting. . .

  14. Summer indeed! Wow you saw those bioluminescent waves! Very cool, I remember seeing them when I was about Sydnie’s age, then later in Santa Cruz when my roommate & I went to play frisbee on the beach at midnight by the electric glow of the ocean.

    I don’t envy you being tapped to cut hair. I can’t decide who was braver- you or Sydnie?!

    Ticktok I knew but I must confess you lost me at Outerbanskying & Ian Somerhaldering. I Googled and now I think understand. I think…

    Love hearing about Annie’s adventures. Sounds like her new crew has found a great way to navigate playing in pandemic times.

    Here we are all about grand parenting. Our living room looks like a daycare center these days and we love it! Snapped a pic of baby’s first tooth and captured her first sentence on video- “I did that!” Great first sentence don’t you think?

    What was your first sentence? I’d love to know. You’ve been stringing them together beautifully ever since.

    • Irene! I have no idea what my first sentence was, but going forward I might tell people it was “I did it!,” because I can’t imagine a better one. Thanks for your beautiful share.

  15. You are pushing ALL my Cancerian buttons Jolie. I’m crying over here. The children growing up and changing seems more apparent when your spending every moment with them, and realize that one day soon, we won’t be this close physically. Gah. Not even a sunny California day can make you feel any less sad about that.
    Peace and love

  16. I always actually LOL when I read your wonderful writing. I also cut my boyfriend’s hair a couple of weeks ago after he assured me he would not be upset if I messed up. He really really needed one. So we watched a video, sat in the bathtub and I went to town with the clippers. And I did a good job!! So, it was a little different than your story (ha) but hey, we both tried something new! And I also saw the bioluminescent waves!! It was an experience I will never forget. Super relatable stuff Jolie and thanks for the Big Sunday shout out!

  17. Hello Jolie! Happy to hear an update from you. Thanks for sharing about your family – it all sounds really cozy and intimate. BTW, don’t go to the beaches in OC like I did. No one wore masks out there, and they’re practically rolling over one another out there. I sound like an angry old man haha! Also appreciate the bump for Big Sunday. I miss the Thursday crowd as well. Looking forward to your next article!

  18. Great article – funny and warm and true. And way lighter than an anvil. Thanks for the nice shout-out to Big Sunday. And even more thanks for not volunteering to cut anyone else’s hair!

  19. Yes! So nice to hear your story and being reminded our life, our children are still changing even if it being quarantined feels like groundhog’s day over and over. What I hear you saying: if we truly pause within the “great pause” we might just see something miraculous in our children, in ourselves. As I stumble as a homeschool teacher, and struggle as a working parent, sometimes those unassuming moments get lost in my tiredness. Your writing helps me to remember to not take the pause for granted. Thank you, I appreciate the reminder. Be well my friend. ❤️

  20. So beautifully put. Reading your column makes me feel like I get a moment of summer. We’ve had some interesting haircut experiences over here as well- I totally relate!

  21. Literary magic that captures the essence of this crazy time in such a lighthearted way. More please.

  22. Felt like a long time coming, when is the last time I checked out your amazing articles? One other thing is for sure, we miss you and the gals. Be safe everyone. God bless y’all.

  23. My gratitude to you for another beautiful and personal essay! I absolutely love hearing about you and your amazing family. It’s hard to believe it’s the end of May, when every day is Blursday over here. But I will definitely feel summer vibes when my kid finishes school in 2 weeks – can’t wait!

  24. I keep wondering what things will be like when everything goes back to normal. Will I start going back to the office everyday? Or will our garage/storage room/playroom where a table and chair are nestled between our toilet paper stash and earthquake water (it’s Perrier, but still) be my office? I do know that come summer, Syd is not going to be thrilled with me traipsing (yes, apparently I traipse) through her room while she’s sleeping until 10 or 11am. We’ll see. Thanks again, my Jolie, for capturing this existence with such truth and clarity.

  25. Jolie, I love the brief glimpse into the life of a mother with a tween and a teen. Your words are both captivating and beautiful. Thank you for writing this honest and hopeful blog.

  26. Thank you, Jolie, for your thoughts as you put them in wonderful words!
    We have been seeing our 15-year-old girl growing up closely the last weeks and months (really?!) and as you said, this is my silver lining of sheltering-in-place. Yes, we would have spent time together anyway and we do miss our soccer games and get-together’s, but this feels like a much deeper connection. School is over for us and Summer break is here. Will we spend it anywhere else than at home?
    At this point, Sonoma County still isn’t clear for any non-essential travel and the challenge is to be ready for it. Our businesses are working hard to get there.
    We list the latest health order information on our website which included the reopening of restaurants and brewpubs and wineries for outdoor dining if meals are included. No opening date for hotels yet.

  27. Oh Jolie! What a beautiful ode to what we’re going through. I love how you always find the silver lining. I learn so much from you.

  28. I love all of this. How is Annie ELEVEN years old, this is not possible. Syd is a teenager? You look exactly the same. Love to you and your beautiful family. xxoo

  29. A simply lovely glimpse into your quarantine existence. Thanks so much for sharing and making us all feel a little normal in this incredibly abnormal time.

  30. How you manage to encapsulate what we are all going through with such beauty and tenderness is a wonder to me. Thank you for this wonderful read.

  31. It’s great to hear from you! Your writing is inspiring. Ana and I are hanging in ….. I don’t know what will do with no school and the idea of even more endless days. I have given in and am letting her hang with a friend from the neighborhood( outside, with masks and 6 feet😂). There are good things; I have renewed my love of mayonnaise and continue my love of ice cream! I can hear my heart beat and count my own steps because of the silence in my mind…. not emptiness, silence. It’s like my world has become one large Quaker meeting. I appreciate the silence to balance the noise of the news (and the Twitter king!). Keep writing! I look forward to your world view, even in a much smaller world.

  32. Thank you for always being a breath of fresh air.
    Our kids get “old” way toooo quickly. Enjoy every minute with your girls. There are silver linings in all this chaos.

  33. Beautiful, as always. And you are right, it is a damn privilege to get to grow old. Savoring the simpleness of it all before these days are gone. I have grown to love and embrace so many things about it. Goal moving forward will be how to figure out how to hold on to the simpleness without getting sucked back onto the hamster wheel.

  34. We watched Becoming with the exact same horror around hand shakes! How did I have the same reaction watching both that and IT? Thanks for sharing! I feel kids are slowly pulling us out of our cocoons, forcing us to say “yes? maybe? I don’t know” to a whole host of experiences.

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