Can you tell that I’ve binge-watched The Office for the 34th time this week? It’s Friday evening and I don’t know about you but this week kicked my ass. And to have such a heavy day fall at the end of a long week made the last few steps feel as if I were wading through concrete toward the finish line. There is so much turmoil everywhere that remembering 9/11 seemed almost too much. Almost.
In the WTC Cortlandt Street subway station is a giant marble mosaic designed by Ann Hamilton. Of all the post-9/11 memorials and tributes, I think it is my favorite. I snapped this picture on our last trip to New York City (also known as The Huffman’s Get Norovirus in NYC, Part 2). The station, destroyed in the attack, reopened in 2018 and features the installation titled Chorus and has the text from both the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Never forget.
I am sipping a martini as I write this post in celebration of the weekend – not that it was a bad week. It actually started off great – we woke up on Sunday morning to a thunderstorm and an ever-changing forecast that required us to adjust our plans for the day. So instead of being outdoors hiking, biking, and on the water, we decreed our Sunday to be a cozy stay-at-home day. Clay and I both suffer from we must do all the things syndrome so it is very rare that we have a day that doesn’t involve leaving the house. And it was glorious.
We then spent Monday exploring downtown Chicago and took full advantage of the near-empty streets while wearing masks and continuously rubbing our hands with hand sanitizer. We went on the water, we saw Cloud Gate, we popped into Eataly for coffee and chocolate, and we ate a delicious late lunch/early dinner at Doc B’s Restaurant + Bar (I totally didn’t realize it was a chain until I linked it – oh well). Is anyone else a fan of eating a meal around 3pm? It’s actually our favorite way to eat when exploring new cities because we avoid peak hours and it leaves the evenings free to wander around and snack on a variety of foods.
We were brought back to reality on Tuesday morning with school, work, and the discovery of no hot water, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a big deal at all but I am a wimp when it comes to cold water. Medicine-free birth? Sure! Cold shower? Hell no. Housing maintenance actually resolved that issue rather quickly but it did seem to set the tone for the week. I tried my best to balance my work responsibilities and support the kids with their school assignments, Zoom meetings, and all the other tasks that involve being the parent who is home during the day but it seemed like the week was a lesson titled Why Karen Is Unable to Do It All. And I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like to fail.
Okay. So fail is too strong of a word but man, this past week was a humbling experience as we learned to navigate our new normal. I am not one to engage in the pain Olympics – I know I have it pretty good. And I wonder if that is why it bothers me so much when I don’t live up to my own expectations. I have a graduate degree in e-learning, I only work part-time, I have a supportive husband who does what he can with his limited schedule, and my kids are in a hybrid program at school. So why is it so hard?
I remember feeling absolutely helpless as I watched the awful events unfolded 19 years ago today from my dorm room. And to be honest, I can’t help but feel a little helpless as I digest the news with each passing day. Is it going to get better? The days following 9/11 were filled with grit, love, and determination – those unified moments seem so far away as we as a nation navigate our way through 2020. So tonight I am raising a glass. Here’s to those who perished that awful day 19 years ago today. And here’s to us. We the people. We can get through this. We will get through this.