For anyone who needs this today.
You have permission.
You have permission to serve them a bowl of popcorn and a lime bubly for lunch. Three days in a row.
You have permission to pretend that you are unaware that they’ve been holed up comfortably in their bedroom fort for five hours watching back to back seasons of Heartland instead of tackling their french homework.
You have permission to admit that you spent an obscene amount of money on art supplies in Week Three of quarantine that have been touched exactly once since landing on your porch (to remove them from their packaging).
You have permission to admit that the pre-sleep routines you’ve carefully cultivated over the years to help your still reluctant sleeper settle each night have been abandoned by the single phrase: “Can I sleep in your bed tonight?” You have permission to admit that it is actually you who is comforted by her slow and steady breathing beside you in the night, even when her elbow is in your ear and her knees are wedged painfully into the small of your back.
You have permission to run the wash cycle three times because you can’t remember if the clothes inside are clean. And while you’re at it, you have permission to rescue your purple yoga pants from the dirty clothes hamper a final time because you can’t summon the energy to convince the twelve year old to carry it downstairs.
You have permission to define quality family time as nightly group viewings of RuPaul’s Drag Race. (Note: you will not regret this).
You have permission to remove the battery from the bathroom scale, and toss that fucker in the trash. Then toss the scale in with it.
You have permission to show up to every morning department meeting and say, over and over, “I honestly don’t know.”
You have permission to say “no thanks” to the standing Zoom date you set up with your besties because some nights, you’d rather sink into a steaming hot bath and stare at the shadows on the wall until your kids have finally gone to bed (even if it’s your bed).
You have permission to toss aside the Booker Prize novels you ordered in Week Two and go right now and renew your online subscription to People magazine. You also have permission to spend an entire evening carefully combing through every instagram picture that Dan Levy and Reese Witherspoon have ever posted.
You have permission to make Ottolenghi’s mustard cheesy cauliflower six times in the last month because every bite makes you feel like might you just might make it.
You have permission to give up entirely on homeschooling and outsource that shit to the experts. Trust me on this one.
You have permission to acknowledge that exactly nothing about the last three months has been anything close to normal, and you have permission to stop pretending that anything is even remotely close to normal.
You have permission to do some other things, too.
You have permission to decide what it might look like for you and your family to re-engage with the world, however slowly. You have permission to feel as though you are not even remotely close to being ready to do that. Or, you have permission to feel like you are ready to picnic naked in Trinity Bellwoods Park (but please don’t do that).
You have permission to feel that despite the tragedies of the last few months, a part of you has been grateful for more stillness. For more time to read and think, to play and to pray. You have permission to acknowledge that you realize that you are only now beginning to get to know the wonder of your family and that you are not all that anxious to get back to rushed meals squeezed in before Scout nights, swim lessons and church meetings.
You have permission to use this not-at-all-normal time to sit still long enough to finally listen to your own voice, and understand your own needs a bit better.
You have permission to use this time to finally acknowledge things you’ve been afraid to confront. You have permission to admit you might very well be in the wrong job, the wrong city, or in the wrong relationship. You have permission to stand up to the people and the things that continue to hurt you, and to entertain a world beyond what you’ve always been taught is possible for you. You have permission to finally answer the calls you’ve been terrified to answer.
You also have permission to change absolutely nothing at all.
You have permission to silently grieve the many losses of the last few months, or to find a community of like-minded souls to help you carry them. You have permission to sit and cry most nights, or to move constantly and energetically towards a different light. You have permission to let this awful year change you. You have permission to let this awful year change everything.
You have permission to do all of this, and so much more.
And, you have permission to ask for some of that damn popcorn.