Two single women with too much hair, two generations, locked in a tiny house with one barking dog, one virus and no vaccine. A scriptwriter would never write the movie of our life, mine and Meg’s, my twenty-one-year-old daughter, even though it has the set-up and tension for a real blockbuster.
It’s a classic story of fear and friction. Of tidy and untidy. Of chill and stress
There will be no movie to memorialize our time together. Why? Because we didn’t murder each other and so nobody cares. At least not in a big-screen way. In the small-whispered way that women talk to women, though, people want to know: How is it going? How is it that one of you didn’t knife the other?
It hasn’t been without drama, I assure you. Meg got Covid. I humanely collected twenty-five mice and rehomed them on my daily walks with my dog, Peanut. Meg watered the plants every day, unbeknownst to me. Every. Day. So, there was the water damage to deal with. And because we have the same crazy mane, the amount of hair that has been collected in our shower drains – well, let’s just say, if highways were made of hair, we would be millionaires.
More than drama, though, there has been much education.
I learned that my hair, even on a really good hair day, looks absolutely no different from when I’m having what I think is a horrendous hair day. I learned that Meg is in love with the anarchy of raccoons and that watching a raccoon on TikTok, trying to get something out of a mailbox may have actual anti-depressant, serotonin-releasing benefits.
I’ve discovered that she is super-sensitive to Peanut trying to protect us from the mailman who wants to deliver the world to our door. When he barks, it’s one of the only times Meg cusses like her mother. Genetics. Am I right?
I learned that I never, ever get ready for a Zoom meeting early enough to be actually prepared for it, and that gives Meghan major anxiety. I’m trying harder, but you guys, grooming is not my forte.
For the last year, I’ve been living as if I am Meg’s twenty-one-year-old roommate. Or, maybe she’s been living like someone in her fifties. Her dad says that when this pandemic is over we will have merged into one thirty-year-old woman. And what a woman that would be, he says.
That homogenized woman would be good at boundaries (Meg) and, after this year of cooking for two, no longer burns herself on every pan (me). This merged woman would be passionate about understanding the influence of our prevailing culture on minorities and women and would watch too many Harry Potter TikToks while eating only Cheez-Its. She would be an expert on aging face serums, tweezers that get the job done and how to shut a door by kicking the crap out of the way and not looking in the room.
The pandemic has been a frightening and confusing time. if I think too much about the loss of so many lives, it swamps me with grief, but if life had galloped along at a pre-quarantine pace I’d never have known that my adult daughter as intimately as I’ve gotten to know her, and she, me these past twelve months.
How did we do it?
I stopped being parental and we let each other be the weirdos we are. This is not advice. This is us.
What I want to know is how other people kept their sanity. How other people didn’t murder their people in their sleep. I’d love to hear it if you want to share it.
Oh boy, I just got a notification on my phone that I have a Zoom meeting in an hour. So as not to stress Meghan out, I’m going to try and get ready. Much February love to you.