|Hi neighbors! Zoomed from an appropriate distance!|
When I spoke with my psychiatrist, he said that "social distancing" was the wrong term, and that we should be calling it "physical distancing," because people still need to be connected to each other.
Yes, my goodness yes.
It is true that I'm an introvert. But all that means is that I recharge by being alone. I need some alone time to be my best self.
As it turns out, I love people. I mean, select people. But there are many of them. So many.
(You already knew this, right? My kids did.)
And I'm a hugger. If we're friends, and you're cool with it, I will hug you hello and goodbye.
My family would say, "I love you" at the end of every phone call. Even if it was like, "Hey, I'm at the store on the way home. Do you need anything? OK. I love you! Bye!"
I have heard people who are of the opinion that saying I love you too often diminishes the meaning. Whereas I feel like you cannot have too much love. Spread that stuff around as much as you can. We all need as much love as we can get.
So I hug friends. And in our school community, there are lots of Latin Americans and Spaniards, which means one cheek kiss or two.
There's lots of physical connection in my everyday world.
Nick does not come from huggers. He is kind and friendly but hugging practically every other person is not how he operates in the world.
With so many friends near and far I am texting, WhatsApping, calling, FaceTiming and Zooming (during which I spent approximately 75% of time time thinking my god, does my face really look like that? And why is my hair doing that? I need to stop touching my face).
With Gerald and Tracy, we've chatted though the window. It's fun but not as satisfying as sitting down having coffee and intense conversation.
They're right here, and I miss them!
Before this, I hadn't thought about the casual interactions that I have every single day.
Most mornings when I'm walking Wanda, Tracy passes me on her way back from boot camp. Our chat is brief, but I love the check ins.
I see Gerald at the end of the school day every day. Sometimes we all walk home together.
We met Tracy, who was also pregnant and lives directly across the street, because our next door neighbors had a party, a really, really loud party with a band, on a weeknight.
I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with India, and Nick went outside to knock on the door. (This was prior to the police arriving.) Tracy was out in front of their house yelling, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!"
Of course we were going to be friends.
My friend Claudia told me that I'm always making new friends. I was like, really? And then she pointed out that I'd just said, "So I have this new friend..."
And in fact, she and I just met a couple years ago, and we were immediately friends.
This summer, my kids and I were planning to go to Spain with her and her daughter, one of India's besties.
I was holding off getting a new passport, which I need, until my hair was no longer pink.
Because 10 years of pink is...long.
But currently it is hard to imagine that this trip could happen in August.
Claudia is also part of my almost-weekly social time. Many Fridays India goes over to their house after school to play, and then I go to pick her up, and Claudia and I sit on the couch and drink wine and eat chorizo and catch up.
It's small, but it's also enormous.
And I now realize I invite people over all the time. All the time.
Come over! I say this all the time. I've invited people I barely know to come stay with us. Come over! Come for coffee! Come have a drink! Come stay!
It's so hard to imagine now, but our first Christmas in this house, when the ground floor was still almost completely under construction, we hosted a tiny Christmas dinner.
How did this happen? I cannot remember.
The kitchen had just been completed, but there were still walls and parts of floors open and we still had to walk across boards to get from the front door to the stairs, or into the kitchen for that matter. Sheets of plastic to keep the dust down were still hanging in doorways.
We had a four month old. Nick bought the last fake tree they had at Lowe's and put it up upstairs.
It's a time I barely remember.
And still, we invited friends for dinner. My dear friend Danny (personal chef extraordinaire). Our friend Kurt, who saved us during snowmaggeddon, and who managed the guest house across the street, and a man who worked with him, whose name I don't remember, who had formerly lived and worked in our house and who brought his girlfriend's dog.
We brought a table and some chairs and pots and pans downstairs. I couldn't even tell you what we ate, just that it was nice to be together.
After we were done, we cleared everything away, took stuff back upstairs, and didn't use the kitchen again until the ground floor was done the following summer.
Kind of odd, actually, no?
Anyway, this come-overness is how, another year, we wound up with 40 people for Christmas dinner. Every time someone told me they weren't going to be with family, I was all, "Come to our house!"
My mother told me to stop inviting strangers from the bus stop, which truthfully was practically what I was doing. Next time I felt inclined to open my mouth and invite someone, she said, I should just close it.
Our friends all brought food. It was lovely to all be together. It was also very crowded. We took turns eating at the table, or ate standing in the kitchen.
We didn't manage a holiday party this year, or holiday cards, for that matter.
We decided we'd do a big party in January or February, when things are grim and people really need some cheer.
And then January and February went by and here we are.
I get all kinds of anxious before big gatherings. I wonder why I invited so many people. What if we don't have enough food? What if we run out of clean glasses?
Nick talks me down every time. He's always like, "You get like this, and then people get here and they have a nice time and you really enjoy it and then you want to have another party again immediately."
This is true.
I just have so many people I like, and they're so interesting, and I love introducing people I like to other people I like and then it just goes from there...
Which is to say, we'll probably have like a 500 person party at our house when all of this is over.
When I told Nick that after all of this I want to have an all-day party starting with breakfast margaritas, he said breakfast margaritas aren't a thing.
But I think if you have them with a side of bacon and a coffee chaser they totally are.
Come over! Then! Whenever then is!
For now: stay home!
Be safe. Big hugs and lots of love,