January this year started on a promising note with my then yet to be published book showing up on a list of anticipated reads for the year. The month also saw me read and review The Good Talk on my blog. This book came to haunt me in many ways and is probably the book that had the most impact on me in a while. The month ended with us marking ten years of being parents.
February was a mixed bag with tidings of bad health in the family and by a stroke of good luck being offered the opportunity to transition to being a telecommuter at work. I packed up the knick-knacks from my cube and bid adieu to the building and took pleasure in setting up my work space at home to my liking. COVID-19 was already on my radar at this time. Amma left for India.
March started with me signing up with They See Blue, the fledging beginnings of political activism. March also brought with it, awareness of COVID-19. It changed the world outside and the inside of the home. For the first time, I got to see up close and personal how much my children struggled at school. I got to understand the depth of their issues and how little I was equipped to be a parent and teacher. Most days I went to bed exhausted, bone tired and weary. This was also the month I worked on polishing the final draft, proof reading and reviewing the manuscript many times over. My older girls celebrated their birthday without fanfare, locked at home and with just the immediate family for company.
April brought with it the dawning realization that COVID was here to stay. I grudgingly acknowledged that the book release I had looked forward to for over a year would probably be a nonevent. There would be no travel, no book signings, nothing to mark a personal epoch. Laddu lost her first tooth and we settled into a new normal with virtual schooling, working from home and managing three meals fresh each day. Laddu also celebrated her birthday with just us for company.
May saw me watch two movies both of which I liked for different reasons. This month was a lot of work behind the scenes preparing for the book launch in a pandemic world. My older girls graduated fifth grade without any of the traditional markers. We had a drive by parade by their school. We waved to friends and came home and let the tears come. This month saw conversations on race take center stage at home.
June is a month that I will both cherish and loathe in equal measure. Amma caught COVID and living thousands of miles away, the three of us tried to co-ordinate care. That it was a nightmare is putting it mildly. Just as she made a recovery and came home, my book baby was out in Kindle on Amazon. It was a roller coaster month in more ways than one. Amid all this Saathi and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, again a low-key at home event. Our children finally were done with school for the year. It was such a relief!
July was an action-packed month with everything being about my book. The author copies came in a tightly wrapped package from India. I was so happy that I could have burst. I hosted live sessions on social media. I had a book signing at home. I cut a cake and celebrated this thing that was just about me.
August brought with it, rumblings of virtual school until November. I scouted for and found a tutor who could come and oversee my children while Saathi and I worked. Amma finally made it back to us this month. I spent most of my time early morning on Zoom sessions doing author visits with schools in India. School began at the end of the month and the tutor lasted just a week.
September saw me work with other writers on a six week online course that was about writing personal essays. Virtual schooling wore me down and my stress levels were through the roof. Saathi turned a year older and I splurged and got myself a KitchenAid Stand mixer. I turned to baking for therapy.
October was a month that snuck past without anything to mark itself by. The children snuck home some caterpillars that stayed in the garage. I have no idea if they died or turned into butterflies.
November was all about the election here in the US and its fall out. I could feel the stress of the months past dissipate now that I had done what I could – which was to exercise my right to vote. My nightly ritual of watching videos on astrology changed from an indulgence to something far more serious. I signed up for a two-year course in Hellenistic astrology.
December has always been a month I love. It is my birthday month. It is the count down to the new year. It is the time of the year where darkness yields to the light. I love everything about it. The lights, the Christmas tree, the stockings hanging from the mantel, the elv(es) who magically move each night, the buying of gifts, the hiding and the anticipation of Christmas morning. Most of all, I love that it is a chance to turn the page on everything that has happened and start afresh literally and metaphorically. I have taken to journaling. I watch the skies each night. I am mulling taking up some form of meditation.
2020 for all its horrors, has been one where I discovered the magic that is good, restful sleep every day. It has been the year when dreams have come true. It also has been one that is eye-opening in terms of my capabilities as a parent.
2021 is a few days away. I feel optimism for what can be. Vaccines that work. Schools back to being brick and mortar five days a week all year, hugging and touching people I care about, travel and most of all, the lifting of the burden I carry on my shoulders each day. Change even if slow, is coming, and is for the better.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!