Dispatches from a Pandemic: ‘In this environment, laundry is my love language.’ What I want this Mother’s Day
Dispatches from a Pandemic
‘I’m a kindergarten teacher, a chef, a cleaner, a caretaker, a concession-stand operator, barista and employee’
What I really want for Mother’s Day is to spend a day with a handle of Tito’s and the stack of books teetering on the edge of my nightstand. Or to binge “Workin’ Moms” and “Never Have I Ever” with a bagel and a latte, immediately followed by a showing of “Becoming” on Netflix
with a burrito.
I want to do all this in my bed. In my coziest sweatsuit. I want to pee, just maybe once or twice this weekend, without an audience or a small person trying to break down the door because they can’t find an eraser or “feel lonely.” (I’ve been gone for 4 minutes, child; you’ve simply got to get it together.)
‘I also don’t want a virtual brunch unless we’re dining with Oprah, Mindy Kaling or Dr. Fauci.’
Here’s what I don’t want: a Zoom
celebration of any kind. It’s not a thing, so please just stop. I also don’t want a virtual brunch unless we’re dining with Oprah, Mindy Kaling or Dr. Fauci. While we’re on the topic, please, for the love of God, nothing DIY; I can’t assemble another food or craft kit. If you insist, just bring me ready-made foods, preferably things that are fried or coated in powdered sugar.
Let’s be clear: I am not on the front lines of anything except my own family’s chaos. We are healthy, and my husband and I are both employed and working from home. Our 6-year-old daughter, albeit a little grumpy about not going to school, is doing just fine. And maybe this seems petty, but that’s just the phase of the pandemic I’ve reached. This has been a long 8,000 weeks.
Now that I’m a kindergarten teacher, a chef, a cleaner, a caretaker, a concession-stand operator, barista and employee, well, I need to know that my family sees me as the superhuman I am, not just the invisible chores fairy.
‘The fridge didn’t fill itself: I did that! And the replenishment of snacks, pencils and juicy new markers? Hi! That was me, too!’
The fridge didn’t fill itself: I did that! And the replenishment of snacks, pencils and juicy new markers? Hi! That was me, too! That smell of sourdough coming from the oven? Also me! (Actually, scratch that one. That was an absurd experiment, and the bread was disgusting.)
Please notice that I made your favorite daal and tell me it’s delicious. (Then take your empty plate to the sink, you animal.) When you open your drawers and see all clean Wonder Woman pajamas, know that, in this environment, laundry is my love language. Tell me that I’m not ruining school for you forever because, a lot of days, when I’m on work calls and can’t walk you through math or reading, I think I might be.
I know I’ve laughed off Mother’s Day in the past as a retail cash grab, but this year I need this day. Hell, I need it to be a month. Right now, more than ever, this mama just wants to be celebrated. So let’s agree that there will be a do-over. That, when things are different, we’ll celebrate mothers with a national holiday dedicated to the thing so many of us need the most right now: a day-long brunch with our best friends.
Till then, it seems I’ll just be wearing this new mask. It goes with my invisible cape.