Keeping On In The Corona

Jolie Loeb and Family

The little eggs hatched; did I tell you? It’s unreal. Two baby birds in there with beaks the size of two eyelashes. Tilly and TimTim. The girls named them.

We bought Annie roller skates. Indulgent, but any activity that doesn’t involve a screen or another human within six feet feels like a good investment these days. So, she’s out there. Skating our neighborhood like it’s 1984. Which sounds like an Orwellian reference but really, I was just thinking of myself in fifth grade. The dystopian thing, well yes. I suppose that too.

We had pizza in my parent’s backyard. Six feet between us all and close to six weeks since we’d seen one another. We are trying to make good choices.

I don’t know if letting Annie roller skate in the house is a good choice.

And I keep dreaming about Magic Mountain. Is this the obvious roller coaster symbolism? Or more direct sadness over Sydnie not getting her 8th grade grad night, which by no estimation, is a small deal? Anyone who knows anything about dreams, please weigh in.

Sunshine, for me, continues to be a salve. Always has been – my dermatologist shames me regularly for it. And a really good cup of coffee (Stumptown, Holler Mountain), unrushed, topped off, and steaming, can feel like a full body spa. I’m finding it’s really a good time to learn your elixirs external and internal because when the boredom sets in, our best learning begins. Either then or when your Wi-Fi crashes.

Roller Skates

So what happened to us all at a month? Judging by your poetic, satiric, hysterical, and frankly inspiring responses, we all smacked up against some invisible wall. Sometime around one month of being kept from one another, boom. Proof that humans are meant to hug. Grandparents are meant to see their grandchildren. Friends are meant for the third dimension.

One of my dearest friends – she had a birthday. Not being able to hug her a happy one… come on Covid. Hurry up. The drive-bys are precious, but a sign, from a sunroof, it can’t scoop you up. It can’t love you.

And I can’t seem to find a face mask that fits Annie’s teeny tiny face. I just ordered some toddler sized ones off Etsy (bless the Creatives who always keep cute at the forefront). And I would prefer to not have to question if what’s printing from our printer is Syd’s science or geometry, because hell if I can tell the difference anymore. (It was science). (God help her if she has any questions).

“WAIT. What about sleepaway camp?”

They’ve sacrificed graduations, dances, grad nights, and good-byes. Year ends and year books and something about painting bricks. As soon as I admit the inevitable to myself, I can admit it to my children. I am not there yet.

I have not become a better cook. But I can totally see how this would be a good time to do that. My house? Still a Marie Condo nightmare.

And yet.

Cup of coffee

I know, one day in the far-flung future, when the Great Pandemic of 2020 is a great topic of nostalgia and reminisce, I know, with all my being, I will miss it with a gut-wrenching ache. Surviving something together. Roller skates and baby birds and pajamas and Code Names. Scattergories and Big Boggle and walks that aren’t cut short by overly demanding schedules and places we need to get to that we’ll never get to on time. Looking into one another’s eyes (the ones that aren’t fogged up behind glasses – solutions there, anyone?) and communicating a communal crazy. Whatever happens next, whatever happens tomorrow, we’re writing history.

On old CVS receipts with complementary hotel pens. The whole globe is coloring on the same canvas.

And tonight we will all eat together (this was not a pre-Covid norm) and I will be flooded with the good and the gain that percolates in the in between. The arrested inertia. Time standing still – that episodic transgenerational wish come true. Still pause pushed, we’re living in this formerly unfounded FOMO free time, equalizing and envy free.

Heatlhcare workers continue to hold all our hearts. We can’t hold their hands, so we hold our breaths. We fist our fingers and we wish them well with all we have, and we pray that against all odds, they can be okay. There’s something unifying there. Some secondary gain inside the global hibernation. Somewhere.

There is loss and loneliness and birthdays that hurt without hugs. And inevitable emptiness that feels so wrong when rites of passage are denied (high school seniors… it’s just so wrong). So I just hope, I can’t help but hope, we can all sift through the sadness and find the sunlit (I know, Dr. Billips, I hear you) spot of good. See it and share it and savor it because it is there. Your cries are the comfort to another, your words have us nodding our heads in empathy. Laughing. Out loud laughing. Do you know? Do you know how many of you I heard from privately, about how those voices you read in the comment section (yours, not mine) calmed and cushioned this strange and unpredictable plunge?

Please, please keep speaking your truths. Speak them freely and speak them here. They are bringing laughter into homes you may never visit. Soothing souls you will probably never meet. But if we can define just one part of what this time can be about, maybe, we can make it about that.

Author Bio:

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

Roller skates image by Thorsten Frenzel from Pixabay

39 Comments

  1. I don’t know about your cooking, but if that picture is a latte that you made, I’d say your coffee foam art game has improved! Keep the faith!

  2. Well said, again. We keep stopping to try to see the glass as half full (we also had two baby bird hatch!), but we are also reminded frequently of the events that are being missed (bricks, yep, I hear about them too!). Thank you for sharing. I really love reading what you write!

  3. I love this. We’re all experiencing the same thing separate but together at the same time. Thanks for expressing this so well.

  4. Love to read anything you have to say as you say it so eloquently. Glad you got to see your parents if only at a distance. Rollerskating–a lost art.
    Continue to stay safe and healthy and writing to us.

    • This piece is so beautiful. Thank you for finding, and reminding us to find, the sunlit moments.

  5. A moment in time….that’s what your 2 posts are. Delightful as they are, they elucidate a moment in your families time. As probably the most senior respondent here, I have somewhat of a different point of view, except on your cooking, that we agree on. Tofu sandwiches, that was the final nail in the coffin. What we are all going through today, is a blip, a moment in time, that will get solved. Things will get back to normal, as they always do. After the wars, recessions, other pandemics, 9-11….we always came through it and came out the better for it. We will this time too. Yet with all my hindsight and experience, the one thing that I have no answers for is what my 2 grandchildren are currently going through, especially, Sydnie. It literally keeps me up at night. The amount of love I feel for those 2 is incalculable, yet the fact that both can’t celebrate their graduations with their schools and friends leaves me feeling empty and frustrated. I can’t help, change, or do anything to make it better for them, and for me that is the great personal tragedy of what we are all going through. My family means everything to me and for the most part, I believe I have always been there when needed, or at least when I thought I was needed. In this instance, I feel totally impotent. They are strong and are handling it with grace, in part due to their parents love…I’m just not sure I will get over it. The pandemic, that is how it has affected me.

  6. Yes Covid is cruel with lockdowns and deprivation, but look at the four of you with baby birds and roller skates. Even time for a lovely latte. I’d say you have made the best of it. Stay safe.

  7. This column is like your cherished warm fuzzy. We are granted a window into a very normal home in very abnormal times. We see ourselves. We read between the lines and realize these daily family activities normally rushed through are more meaningful than heretofore imagined. You are our favorite caregiver. Never stop writing

  8. The good:I am enjoying quality time with my family. With two overscheduled teenagers in their pre-COVID life, I appreciate that my junior in high school has time to chat with me for hours versus minutes about what’s on her mind and my middle schooler can have dinner with us since her gym, her second home, is temporarily closed.
    The bad: I miss the human interaction with friends and family and wish that I did not have to breathe into a face mask which fogs up my glasses every time that I leave my home.
    The ugly: My father passed away in the end of February and my mom is living alone with dementia in an Assisted Living Facility, not understanding what is happening in the world and my not being able to hug her and assure her that it will be okay despite the horrific news stories about what is happening inside the walls of many of these nursing facilities. Can’t wait to squeeze my mom’s hand again soon.

  9. I love this, Jolie! There is so much I miss about life before Covid. So much. And I did hit my wall at that month mark. But, I do love life slowing down. I don’t love cooking but I do love having dinner as a family every night. I love not rushing and I don’t miss always feeling that constant pressure of time. I was the friend who had a birthday. I missed the hugs. I missed the hugs an insane amount, but it was probably my favorite birthday celebration. My friends & my family made me feel so loved and special. Everyone was so creative and found amazing outside the box ways to make it memorable. Jolie, you were a big part of that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and please send me a picture of the tiny birds. ❤️

  10. Ah Jolie. No better time to create your Mona Lisa of observation than right-the-heck now. Yes, the fatigue, strangeness and yet total NORMALITY of this not-normal time has absolutely set in over here. Strange pops of discomfort that can’t be explained on days when everything in our little world is quite nice. Some lost sleep (I’m looking at the clock right now). And pangs of pushing back against what we cannot change. But amid all of that, all of the good that you see as well. From our position of privilege we have much to celebrate: time together, no traffic to sit in, and more food to eat than should be okay. I know what you mean about looking ahead to the time when we have some longing for the good ol’ quarantine days. Totally get it. Time will only tell what shifts – colossal or minuscule – will occur (unrelated: let’s keep those shifts in the metaphorical, shall we? enough with the earthquakes already!). But goodness is still good. Hope is still hope. And friends are still friends, even if birthday doughnuts need to be postponed. 🙂 This much is for absolute certain: your words, your heart are gifts to this planet. Big ones. The traces of your thoughtfulness will linger forever. And if I’m grateful for anything in all this, I’ll add your writing to the top of the list.

  11. Jolie,
    You have a true gift for words!!!
    Your writing style warms my heart and soothes us all!
    I hope that the sunshine outside and joy in your home fills your soul.
    And, hopefully some additional unexpected learning comes
    out of all this…
    May we all learn more patience and the strength of resiliency…
    May we all learn to express our love to family and friends and truly understand the importance of good hygiene, selfless healthcare workers and genuinely appreciate the grocery store workers and fluid supply chains!

  12. Mrs. Loeb, My wife and I have certainly enjoyed tour wonderful editorials mostly your impressions of our life changed caused by Covid 19. We read them first for the special insights you share, then a second time to breathe in your soaring writing style that lets us enjoy a taste of what you are sensing.

  13. Thank you for expressing your beautiful soul, as always, Jolie. The truth is that I can’t believe that whenever the restrictions are lifted that we won’t immediately go back to the world as it was in February. It’s so strange to think that when we go out to eat, we won’t have to scream to hear ourselves as we’re squashed next to younger, hipper, louder people than us. I can’t believe that will we have to think differently about what a hora looks like at a bar mitzvah or wedding. I can’t believe that I have to start planning for a work environment where we have to move back to socially distant seating with masks, gloves, and buckets of hand sanitizer. It’s a strange and scary time we live in, but despite nearly boiling in our uninsulated garage on this hot spring day, I will miss not being at home with my three favorite people in the world. It’s not normal, but it’s intimate and full of love in our house. And full of laundry. And empty boba tea cups thanks to Postmates.

  14. Hello from Texas Jolie ,really enjoyed especially about the kids ,cleaning the house , cooking , and Allans comments on grandkids. The grandkids and I text,zoom , FaceTime,talk on phone and send cards. But that in no way makes up for face to face time, hugging , throwing the football , laughing together and in general just being around each other. When this all started I thought now I’ll get the house cleaned and organized. What a laugh. The kitchen is now an office , game playing area and critter watching area. I have a big picture window in the kitchen with 6 feeders outside so we do bird ,butterfly and squirrel watching. We still eat most of our meals there. The dining room is now the puzzle room and the family room is the work out room. We still use the bathrooms in the old fashioned way. As for cooking , had I not received an air cooker for Christmas I might have passed away from eating to many turkey sandwiches. That thing is great and fairly easy to clean. This pandemic shall pass and we will come out being much more appreciative of time with family, friends and neighbors and the little things in life , like going to the store. A cleaner house —— I’m not so sure.

  15. I love the roller skates!!! A girl after my own heart. One of my favorite bday parties ever was when my mom put a boom box in the garage and we all skated in circles around it!!! Hope you guys are staying well!

  16. Thank you for another beautiful, touching essay! It makes me so happy to picture your girl on roller skates, and throws me back to my junior high years (as it was called then). You’ve also reminded me about one of my favorite memories, when we used to have a “mommy and me” group meet in my backyard. We watched a bird’s nest right over the porch for a few weeks, and then absolutely delighted when the eggs hatched and we could watch the baby birds! I think the moms were more excited than the toddlers, actually. And now…I have hung a bird feeder on the lemon tree and started watching the Red-breasted House Finches, California Towhees, doves, and squirrels go at it. Alas, this morning, I found the feeder on the ground, no doubt the victim of an attack by a mammal – the squirrel? The raccoon? Or even the possum? Ring camera footage documents the moments before and after the crime – but failed to capture the actual perpetration! The mystery continues… 🙂

  17. sigh. as usual you have so beautifully captured so much of this crazy. thank you for your worlds. thank you for helping me feel less alone. thank you.

  18. I love all your write-ups, but this one really got me. Somehow you put words to exactly how I’m feeling right now. I’m feeling nostalgic for friends and human contact, but also taking solace in a good cup of coffee. ; )

  19. What a lovely and poignant article. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful glimpse into your experience and making us all feel closer.

  20. Beautiful post – in the midst of the collective heartbreak around the world there is beauty to be found in the simple things we had gotten too busy to notice. Life will be different after this is over. In a good way. A mourning dove mama made her nest in our backyard too. ❤️

  21. Beautifully said. I am grateful for this time with my teens and tween, that we are healthy right now. We miss hugging our grandparents but love zooming with them. We miss our friends but are finding new ways to connect. We are tyring new things, learning to be content with “less”. Realizing we have it easy compared to a lot of others. It’s a tough time but there is so much beauty in it too as we find new ways to find happiness.
    But some days just suck…..

  22. I like it when am invited to leave a comment. I love reading your material. It touches my heart, that I must say I stop my heart beat to carefully soak it in. The language, carefully chosen words, leave me wanting to know the next time you post.Thank you Jolie.

  23. As weeks pass and this becomes our new normal for now, I exhale. I am grateful for surviving and some days even growing (Funny thing only can say that in hindsight.) But now, I feel like a kid on a long drive asking, are we there yet?

    What is next? When will this end? How will end? These are the questions that haunt me in between a zoom call and a Netflix binge. I am ready for answers that the universe is not ready to give. So I forced to be uncomfortable for a little bit longer and open the next COVID chapter that I am going to call… “complete surrender”.

    Thank you for sharing your story. There is some comfort that Tilly and TimTim came into the world ready to grow and then fly.

    Keep sharing your truth and I will keep sharing mine. ❤️

  24. Second time’s a charm. I DO hope that sleep away camp is NOT cancelled!!!!!! One can still hope! Why is Annie on roller skates SO perfect?! Thank you for so poignantly putting into words a period in our lives that will undoubtedly be unparalleled by no other. Xxx

  25. I love reading your post as they are always beautifully written. I think we are all feeling the loss of social interaction. This has been a time to slow down and have experiences like we had when we were kids. There has been challenges like learning to be more computer savvy because everything now is done remotely. Voiceover recordings are now done from home but that creates its own challenges and all auditions for acting are now self tapes. Play dates are now on Zoom or FaceTime. We are all in this together but some have better resources to deal with the situation. I feel for the families that have no play yard, pool, or other resources to deal with this. I wish we could start a toy drive for those in need but right now is a time when used goods are forbidden as they may carry germs. It will take time, we will eventually recover and learn from this event. I hope everyone stays well and we return to normalcy soon.

  26. This article perfectly captures the “in-between” we are all stuck in right now, how hard-line positions get softer as the longing for human connection grows. We speed up, we slow down…maybe even stop for a minute… but we still need connection.

  27. You continue to fill my bucket with wisdom, hope, and perspective. I love that you are so real & genuine and I can truly appreciate everything you are sharing. I’m right there with you!! I, too, have not improved on my cooking skills, which have long begged for help! But, don’t care because we are sitting down to eat as a family unit every night. Can’t beat that. Even if it’s frozen pizza & salad, I’m trying to appreciate our togetherness. Yet I feel so sad that everyone else has to stay so far away. I miss hugging my family & friends sooooo much too! Going through all of this really gives perspective on what matters most in life. Thank you for always writing such beautiful articles. You inspire me. When this is all over, I look forward to giving you a big hug!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.