So remember in late January when everybody was all, “it’s January 74th” because it just felt so long? Hahahaha… We had no idea how long a month could be. I realized the other day during a rare quiet moment (I left the house and sat in my car in the parking lot of a gas station) that I no longer quite think in complete sentences unless I’m writing or talking. There’s so much noise in my house, online, and in my head.

I was having a hard time coming up with words to say here when Emily Freeman’s monthly newsletter ended up in my inbox and she shared a look back at this wild month in three parts:

  • a moment of joy
  • something that surprised me
  • something I want to leave behind as I head into April

I can probably manage this. But I’m going to rearrange to leave you with the fun part.

something that surprised me

Well, I mean, March. But that’s everyone. I started a writing project early this month. This in itself is a surprise to me—it’s not a big project, but it’s bigger than a blog post and I’ve long told people who’ve mentioned me and book-writing in the same sentence that I barely have enough [semi-] coherent words to write a 1000-word post. Anyhow. It’s a different kind of writing than I’ve done before and a bigger project and just generally intimidating to me, so kinda put it off for a minute. But right at the beginning of March I finally decided, “You know, I’m just going to do it. I don’t have to do much, but I need to at least start something.” and within a week or two I was roughly a third through the rough draft of the whole dang thing. Didn’t see it coming. It’s not easy, per se, but the words come every time I’m faithful to show up to do the work. (I haven’t done any of this in the last two weeks, so it’s still roughly a third done, but still.)

one thing I’m hoping to leave behind as I make my way into April

When the first case of COVID-19 in Alaska was announced roughly the same hour as the school district decided to close, I started following all the things pretty closely. Every day right around five, I’d hit the dhss website, be irritated at the lack of news, google “covid-19 alaska,” weed through the stuff about Alaska Airlines and the things from the Fairbanks Daily News Minor which won’t let me read unless I subscribe (which I won’t), read the remaining useful articles coming from Anchorage and the local TV news channels, go back and refresh DHSS, look at the CDC’s map of the spread which is maddeningly behind, do math regarding the rate of growth of cases both in the US and Alaska, etc. This is madness. And even if I do need to get all the info from all the places I can find it, five o’clock is literally the worst possible time. From 5:00-6:30 pm has been witching hour (hour and a half) since we’ve had kids. Five is when the kids really seem run out of the ability to regulate well and six thirty is when Andrew gets home so we can do the dinner/bedtime shuffle. Me sitting on my laptop compulsively hitting refresh on sites that will only give me stressful news about which I can do nothing is profoundly counterproductive.

I have prefered news sources (that generally link original documents and transcripts, so I feel good about reliability) which I check regularly. I’m happy with exactly this level of news. If I want to do a deeper dive, the sources are available, but generally I just get the highlights in a way that doesn’t completely overwhelm me, and that’s plenty. I am signed up for texts from Alaska’s DHSS, so I get a message a few minutes past five most days with whatever the case and body count is (this sounds so cold and crass, but those really are the details I get) along with any new health mandates.

This is enough. And it doesn’t eat my attention and stress me out during the most difficult ninety minutes of my day.

a moment of joy

This past Saturday, Andrew set up the trampoline. Note: the snow is still up to the bounce mat (I had to google “what is the floor of a trampoline called”) so this may be a bit premature, but we have to burn their energy somehow.

He sent the older two out to play, but the younger two needed to clean up the toys they’d been playing with before heading out. Brian picked up the blocks and got his gear on and left. Lilly was dragging her feet—she would rather never go outside without a “gwonup”—and was putting Duplos in the bin as slowly as she could manage.

Suddenly, shrieks erupted. Brian’s one of our screamers and evidently somebody did something he didn’t like and he LET US KNOW. (We could still see him bouncing, so he wasn’t majorly injured.) Lill immediately kicked cleanup into high gear and started frantically yelling, “It’s okay, Boyboy! I’m coming! I’ll be right there!” Now, it was a balmy twenty degrees out, so all our doors were closed and even if they hadn’t been, Brian’s shrieks would certainly have drowned out Lilly’s panicked maternal reassurances. She got the Duplos put away in record time, dressed like a marshmallow, and waddled out to the back as fast as her clunky boots would let her.

I love how much she loves her “Boyboy.”

And there we have it. I’d love to hear the rundown of March from you, if you’d like to share.

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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