S is for “Silly” and “Struggling”

For 17 days, Professor Cappie has made a daily alphabet video. She started with “A” in response to my best friend’s decision that quarantine was a great time to teach her not-quite-two-year-old the alphabet (he already can count to 10; he’s a prodigy, basically). 

S is for Sailboat! I wanted it to also be for sword fight, but Matt was stuck on a conference call and like Cappie said, she can’t hold a sword.

To remind you all, Cappie is my dog. 

The premise is very simple: Cappie presents a bunch of random, found objects that start with the day’s given letter. For example, today was “S.” Today Cappie sat in front of a picture of a shipyard, with a large model sailboat next to her, and she “presented” a sword, a strawberry, and shoes. She also noted that “sitting” starts with “s.” 

I started these as a joke, and I still think of them as comedic amusements. But they’ve also become a bit of a life-line that I seriously appreciate. When I feel myself starting to spiral down that deep, dark COVID Coaster, sometimes I look at tomorrow’s letter and find a life raft. Here! Here’s something fun to think about, something that doesn’t involve life or death, finances or family. And the best part? You control it entirely! It’s silly, but I go on a hunt around Gwendom looking for the strangest stuff (two good s-words) I can find. 

If I see that Matt’s spiraling, I make it a game for him, too. Plus, it’s something new to talk about. We haven’t yet run out of things to talk about (and I’m hopeful we never will), but without much outside activity, our conversations do start to feel a bit stale sometimes. How many times in 10 days should we re-assess the bathroom tile situation? Plus, some of our favorite topics, like planning trips, are verboten because they send one of us to the dark place. 

I’ve embraced this silly daily video and I am really, really thankful that my family and friends who watch them with their kids haven’t made me feel stupid yet (not a good s-word). Their indulgence gives me great joy. Because to be honest, I’m struggling here. I think we all are, in our own ways. This is hard. 

Everyday it’s hard in new, unexpected ways. You think you’ve got a handle on it, and then the next day something changes. Or it just feels like one more day, which is, damn it, one more day too many.  

P is for popovers, which I made only partially inspired by the alphabet video.

I have nothing to teach you from this lesson, besides, “S is for silly and struggling.” And right now those emotions are really, really important. It’s important to try to find something silly to keep you going, and I think it’s just as important to acknowledge that this is hard. It’s hard for all of us, even if it’s hard in different ways. This isn’t a time to be weighing who’s got it hardest. This is a time for us to look at each other over Zoom and think, “They’ve got it hard, too. I feel with them.” 

If you have any recommendations for T words, keep them. I’ve got a lot of ideas lined up already, including, “Thankful.” 

If you have any ideas of v words though, I’m all ears.

Everyone’s favorite, so far. People just love a broken egg!


Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Alicia, keep writing! T is for Talent…one gift from this unimaginable reality we’re in is some more Time for our Talents, if we’re among the fortunate ones whose lives haven’t been entirely upended. I love reading what you write!


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