My knuckles are raw from sanitizer. No amount of good lotion seems to fix that.
Many days, my nerves are as a raw as my skin.
What week of lockdown is this? Eight? Nine?
We used to count.
I see the exhaustion in the eyes of my coworkers, who push on, writing stories of local heroes, festival cancelations and whatever normal news trickles in. The heroes and cancelations keep coming. And so, we keep writing.
I see the exhaustion in my own eyes in every virtual meeting, that phenomenon of 2020 where we watch ourselves talk. That’s got to be doing something to our psyches, so much watching ourselves talk to others onscreen, but I’m not enough of a scientist or psychologist to begin to examine it.
I see the exhaustion in the eyes of my children, who have now rebuilt every Lego kit they’ve ever owned. We have a great city now of magical castles and grand hotels, all displayed in their re-completed glory, filling the dining room table. My youngest child admits to not fully remembering, anymore, what it was like to get up on a Tuesday and go to school. My oldest child pushes through virtual AP calculus, saved only by a veteran, dedicated teacher.
I see the exhaustion in the social media posts of friends we haven’t seen in-person in months, positive one moment, despairing the next.
We are all tired.
Some of us are tired of working on the front lines. Some of us are tired of being sidelined from our jobs.
Some of us are tired of being home with small children. Some of us are tired of not seeing our grandchildren.
Some of us are worn out from volunteering. Some of us are tired of our continuing need to accept volunteer help.
Some of us are tired of waiting to reopen our businesses. Some of us are tired of waiting to be allowed to step into a store.
Some of are tired of being sick or caring for loved ones who are sick. Some of us are tired of being anxious about getting sick.
We are all tired of the unknowns.
Most days we still work at being kind, but some days aspiring to that standard is hard.
We take long walks and wait for boxes to be dropped at our front door.
The surreal nature of this all hits at unexpected moments, like the recent Sunday morning I drove past our church, and there was no one there. The words for how strange that felt escape me.
Turning the corner into spring, we’ve found small joy in a strange, drive-through farmers market and have thrilled at the limited return of some of our favorite local shops.
We wait for our neighborhood farmers market to come back, not caring that it might look different, as long as we have it. We wait for it to be warm enough to plant tomatoes.
We begin projects for summer fairs that ultimately may or may not go on.
Every day we process more news about what’s left of summer beyond our house, little of it good.
In quiet moments, my mind has slipped into processing exactly what it is we’re in the middle of, and stopped every time, finding the big picture too overwhelming. It may be years before I can go there.
And so, we press on, limiting now the baking and eating that defined our early weeks. There are better things to do with our hands than reach for more brownies. Like building with Legos.
And we talk, wearily, about where we’ll go and who we’ll hug when all of this is over.