Something Like Normal

Yesterday I forgot to check the number of new COVID cases in DC until 6pm. And before that, I forgot to check for a whole long weekend.

I go for walks now without putting on a mask, even if it is wadded up in my pocket, or wrapped around my wrist, just in case.

Our son has been back in daycare for 3 weeks, happily making friends and walking straight into our provider’s home without even a wave goodbye, as if he never left, as if the pandemic never happened to him and he didn’t have excessive screen time over the last 14 months. I stand on the porch, masked, waving at the door.

A few weeks ago, we took our (vaccinated) selves out to dinner for my husband’s birthday, and because it was raining, we sat indoors. After I got over my initial panic and realized we were still near multiple open windows, I began to relax. I enjoyed my French bistro meal and even savored a couple ounces of red wine over the course of our evening, letting the dim, quaint interior, a black dress, and the space between patrons shelter my third trimester belly from judgement.

We had friends over for brunch, and I held a baby, who I had attended a virtual baby shower for. I just looked at her with wonder, wonder that a whole new person had been created and birthed and raised by two people I love (but hadn’t seen), all during this strange year.

We’re currently planning out how to take advantage of our parental leave after the new baby is born, plotting out which new restaurants to try while the baby naps on us or in her stroller, figuring out what’s within walking distance in our new neighborhood and in this brave new world of relaxed outdoor seating.

We’re making plans, which in and of itself seems pretty big these days. We’re looking ahead, but I can’t help but glance back, to make sure we’re really, truly in the clear, that the virus, the dread, the uncertainty, the loneliness, the smallness of that life is no longer nipping at our heels.

Things are not normal yet. I don’t know what normal even is anymore. But we’re getting there, or to somewhere close.

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