Is anyone feeling that oh-my-overwhelming feel of late March and early April again? I felt joyful and optimistic yesterday watching the inauguration, but all the good political news didn’t take me out of my house, where I always am now, meal planning and sweeping, working and eating. Over and over.
I think it’s the combination of wintertime and stay-at-home, and as January inches into February the forced realization that this virus isn’t going anywhere. We aren’t going anywhere, not soon at least.
December was incredible, filled with cheer and lights and too much tequila and all this absurd talk about good riddance to 2020. I for one wholly and willfully indulged the “Everything will be better in 2021” storyline. It made what could have been a grim holiday season a little more festive. Christmas is all about willful disbelief, right? Santa Claus? Your checking account balance? Hangover free cocktails? And this year, 2021 will be an insta-cure to all that ailed us.
Unfortunately the cure to 2020 is a lot of hard work. Hard work to stay home and stay healthy until vaccine distribution is truly widespread. Hard work to move on from the bitter political divide. Hard work to convince otherwise rational people that Joe Biden is appropriately in office after a free and fair election. Hard work to talk to your family who believes otherwise. Hard work to build a society that is equal, where justice is meted out equally, where policing is fair, where rioters don’t get a free card because they’re white while protesters get jailed because they’re Black. Hard work to discover your role in making the world the better place you want it to be.
This year will be hard work, every day.
But at least I’ll be doing the work from my home. Which I love. I know I’m privileged to be able to work from home, and I know I’m extremely lucky to have a home well-situated to serve as my everything. And today, I want to spend a little time being grateful for that.
I meant to do this in December when I saw the prompt here and thought it was nice. But did I mention all that willful disbelief I did in December? If it wasn’t a bread recipe or related to my gingerbread house, I probably didn’t spend a lot of time with it.
Now that I haven’t left my neighborhood in weeks, and my house is once again home to real (i.e. my job) work, hard work (i.e. being an engaged member of society), workouts (because it’s January), all of my meals, and very few visitors, it’s time to practice a little gratitude for this beautiful place that can feel like a prison when it’s 15 degrees outside and we have months more of stay-at-home ahead.
Home, thanks for being a constant chore. You give me literally endless projects to complete. And when we get one door hung, one floor washed, there’s always another one that could be hung better, or with a soup spill. You churn out to do list items faster than my not-a-teacher mother on a Snow Day ever could, and it’s impressive.
I might resent this in a normal year, but this twelve months, it’s a lovely distraction. What little tiny imperfection will you present next? I’ve got my tiniest paintbrush at the ready. Bring it on.
Home, thanks for being a constant comfort. I know I roll my eyes at the neverending improvements you need, at the way you sometimes make me feel like I’m never enough. But you also offer me up the coziest living room at the end of each day, and I burrow into your partial walls and stare at your 100+ year old restored fireplace mantle and thank my lucky stars that I have someplace to retreat to that is totally, perfectly, purpose-built for me.
Home, thanks for being a work-horse. Your kitchen makes it almost a delight to cook 21 meals in each week. Your double-layered island lets me enjoy dinner without looking at the dishes. Your bar gives me somewhere to eat lunch that feels just a smidge different than the dining table five feet away. Your pantry allows me to stock all the things in bulk I’ve ever wanted, and while strange, I know few joys more satisfying than a 25-pound bag of flour and two full over-sized jars of Jif.
Home, thanks for being spacious. I know you sometimes feel drafty because you’re tall and spindly and we haven’t given you enough rugs or curtains. But it’s really great that you’re so tall, because we each have our own floor to work from each day. And I am confident that my work product and my marriage would have really suffered if we had to spend even one more week taking hushed conference calls side-by-side in a car before you were finished being built.
Home, thanks for being situated on the best block in Washington, DC. Opening your door each morning just in time to say goodbye to the neighbors as they head to their school pods centers me and reminds me it’s time to get walking. Watching Max and Annie (a dog and his owner) walk by at lunchtime each afternoon reminds Cappie she wants to go out, and me that it’s time for a hot lunch. Heading to the dog park for my last call of the day is the best treat of all. I knew I wanted to live in a neighborhood that felt a little bit like the one where I grew up, but never did I imagine a year where my most regular social interactions would come on the sidewalk. Nor did I ever know how fortunate I’d be to have a Trader Joe’s in four-minutes walking time, which has been so handy when we’ve had grocery store lines. And your proximity to Bacchus Wine Cellar? How did you find such a perfect niche?
Home, I’m sure I’m going to curse you and hurt you and definitely scratch your floors this week because I can’t seem to stop doing that. But I appreciate you. I’m ready to hunker down inside you for another many months.
And I expect practicing this type of gratitude will make that easier.
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.