It's another week. Another Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. It doesn't matter what day it is. It's another day preceded by another night in which I woke up at 3:00 am, sweaty with a racing heart from a nightmare I can't quite remember. I stare at the ceiling, preparing to face another day, eerily similar to the one before.
The Same Morning
When I finally convince myself to get out of bed, I struggle down the hallway to get to the garage where I pull a Coke Zero out of the drink fridge. I take a sip and try to get my head around what the day will bring. The cats meow at me for breakfast, so I feed them and then snuggle the newest addition, our adorable rescue kitten who might be a jerk.
My seven-year-old is already up. I heard him open and shut his door at 6:00 am. My twelve-year-old is still asleep, and she'll struggle down the hallway eventually. She's too much like me; she hasn't been sleeping well either. My partner is already up. I listen out for the coffee grinder. It's loud whirring signals that I'll move on from soda to my many cups of coffee that punctuate my day. I make sure the kids have breakfast, and I make mine—the same toaster waffles with the same peanut butter—and scarf it down while standing at the counter.
I make sure to take my medicine. I hear my morning mantra in my head: Take the medicine, take the medicine, take the medicine. I take it before my reminder goes off because the last thing I need is for my anxiety to get more out of control or my depression to shift from minor to major.
I try to get in the right headspace for the day. Going over the work I have to accomplish and double-checking my planner. Getting the kids ready for their virtual classes. Troubleshooting whatever tech issue. Talking them down from whatever thing is bothering them or whatever crisis emerges. Thinking about all the emails I still haven't responded to and the work that inevitably piles up as I try to manage another year of work, home and school happening in the same space at the same time. I'm already exhausted, and the day hasn't even started in earnest.
More of the Same
It's yet another day in another week in another year of a pandemic. I sigh another dramatic sigh as I realize that I have already misplaced my coffee cup, so I pour another cup. The other mug will turn up later on a bookshelf or a coffee table or the piano that no one plays or the washing machine.
After the kids are settled, I open my laptop and prepare myself for the onslaught. I double-check my online calendar for anything that didn't make it into my paper planner. I live with a constant nagging feeling that I am missing something. Later, I'll frantically check my calendar again, convinced that I've missed something: an appointment, a meeting or a call. It's only a matter of time before I miss something, I think as I check my calendar yet again.
I answer email while also checking up on kids. I try to complete a writing assignment and end up helping a second grader get through assignments. I surf the internet to see what the latest news is on the pandemic. I read yet another article about the Delta variant of COVID-19. I check the numbers of cases in my county, a place which The New York Times reports is extremely high risk to the unvaccinated like my younger kid and my father, who is battling cancer and losing.
It's more of the same. I feel suffocated by the sameness; clawing at my throat will leave nothing but wounds that I'll have to tend to. I don't have time to tend to them. I remind myself to breathe, and I do.
Again and Again and Again
Soon, my teeth begin to hurt because I've been clenching my jaw. Again. I try to force myself to get back on task. Again. My older kid is sighing dramatically at her laptop. Again. My younger kid is climbing in his chair, no longer focused on lessons. Again. I try to pull my focus back to my work. Again. It doesn't work, and additional emails popped up as I looked away from my screen. I want to cry. Again. I don't. This time.
My coffee cup is lost again, so I wander through the house searching until I finally find it in the kitchen sitting by the coffee carafe. I filled up the cup and walked away. My mind is constantly cycling through 1,000 things that I have to pay attention to but can't.
Before I know it, we've made it through dinner and then bedtime. Soon, I lie awake for another night, knowing that tomorrow I'll do everything all over again as I will the next day and the next.
I'm perpetually reliving the same day with slight variations but with no end in sight. Sameness awaits me, and I'm utterly exhausted by it.
Earlier in the summer, I thought things could be different. That the vaccines would mean that life would return to some semblance of the way we were pre-pandemic. But just as we were beginning to resume, the Delta variant proved that the pandemic will not be so easily defeated. Our plans for a new day dashed. And we find ourselves waking up with yesterday's problems, reliving them again and again without the hopeful naivete of last fall.
The endless sameness remains. It's just another day in another week in an ongoing pandemic that we can't easily escape.