Julie is my reward, I used to say. She’s my easy baby, the one who put herself on a schedule at two weeks, slept thru the night ridiculously early, ate whatever I offered her, and potty trained herself just after her second birthday. She’s my social butterfly. Even with all the teenage angst that she’s decided to adopt about three years early, she’s still my tiny baby, the one who feels like the perfect culmination.

She’s brilliant, insightful and kind. Thoughtful and impassioned and private and operating on fifteen different levels. She struggles to find her place in a family filled with intensity and exceptions. She’s beautiful, so much so it’s hard not to constantly tell her so. She’s intellectual, to the point where her teacher told me not to bother with the distance learning he’s sending home – that’s geared so far below her she’ll be bored.

My Julie is endlessly dancing, loves the rain and helping in the kitchen. She walks faster than I do, and wants nothing more than to be older than she is. We got her a tablet for her birthday, and she’s on it now, texting her friends, and begging for just ten more minutes. Her hair is greenish/blue now, after begging for weeks for me to color it. And I’m thinking about her, perched on her top bunk, with her dyed hair, her tiktok account and her friends texting her non-stop.

I wouldn’t trade the last ten years for anything. And as much as I wish that she was still little, I think the next ten years are going to be even better.

Happy birthday Julianna – I love you more than you’ll ever know.

It’s been an odd day. Yesterday was terrible, I was in the worst mood, and all I wanted was my life back. My friends, my car, my happy little schedule. My kids dancing off to school and my baby girl happy. Sam and Jessie are managing this well, but I feel like my little Julie is so sad.

Today, I went to Trader Joe’s. Waited in line for about twenty minutes to get inside, but it’s the only place that sells the GF oats that Jessie needs. And while Jessie is handling this whole covid-19 well – she’s still a lot more fragile than I’d like. And adding in no oats – why make it worse? So I bought some oats, and apples (because it’s the only fruit they’ll all eat reliably) and something else… cucumbers and milk.

Then we came home and there was a huge rainstorm. Hail, sleet, a little snow, and torrential downpours. But now, it’s gone and the sky is blue. It’s freezing cold (as I just had to take Lizziebeth out again) but from inside, it looks beautiful.

There are so many questions about the future. When will Marc go back to work? Will it be the same as it was before? Will colleges re-open for the fall? Will either of the older girls take a semester off, if it goes to on-line? What does k-12 school look like, with the prediction that we’ll have periodic shut downs? Am I making the right decision by sending Julie back to public school? I could pull her and enroll her in TECCA, like Sam, but she hates doing the online school now, and she loves her friends.

I walk around, with the future entirely up in the air, and when I think too much about it, I start to panic. Then I choke it down, grab another cup of coffee and pray that we all stay healthy.

We’re on the fifth week of the lockdown, and I’m officially losing my mind. I’ve lost any semblance of patience and am so frustrated and tired and I just want my old life back. With happy kids who had school and friends and a dog who could go to the dog park and a husband who bounced off to work happily every day. I’ve got an unending headache and I’m not sleeping well. There’s no end in sight – or rather, there’s all kinds of supposition and guess work as to what the end will be like or when it will happen.

Will the kids go back to school? Will college visits ever resume? Will colleges resume? Where do we go from here? Is it just going to be masks all the time? Blended learning? Will they go to school for a few weeks and then come back home? We’ve managed to avoid getting sick so far, but I don’t know if that’s because we literally let the kids go nowhere, and other than a few masked trips to the grocery store, we aren’t going anywhere either. Or maybe it’s because we already had it – back in February, early March, when both Marc and I were so sick and then Sam and Julie got it.

I’m frustrated and sad and in need of… something.

1 – Julie requires structure. I’ve learned this before, but have to relearn it over and over again because it somehow doesn’t sink in for me. From the beginning, when she put herself on a sleeping schedule by the time she was a week or to old, Julie gravitates towards order and predictability. I prefer to keep it loose, laid back, chill, even. Which is a recipe for disaster for my girl. And by the time I clued in, she was miserable. So now we follow a regimented routine, where I plan out her wake up time, her meals, her activities – there’s flexibility built into the system, but overall, things have gotten much better for her.

2 – Jessie requires activity. I have to get her out of the house daily, on a walk or a drive. Otherwise she goes nuts. She’s mostly handling everything really well, only one major melt down in the past month, and that had more to do with a migraine and lack of sleep than anything else.

3 – Sam really misses his old life. I don’t know if it’s just that he’s more expressive about it than the girls are, but he’s missing being able to see the older girls, and having these girls at school. He’s worried about restaurants opening back up and life going back to normal.