A Gallery of Regrettable Tees

Amalah All Along

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Hello.

I am here. I am fine. We are all fine.

We are all also totally, absolutely, five billion percent not fine. You know how it is these days.

I never understood bloggers who just one day, out of blue, stopped updating, you know? At least announce that you’re closing up shop or pivoting full-time to TikTok? Post some kind of goodbye entry, farewell, The End? 

Now I get it. You don’t always plan to stop. In fact, it can be the exact opposite – I just needed a break, I told myself. I needed to find my sense of humor about…oh, ANYTHING, EVER, AGAIN. I couldn’t bring myself to document the days—the endlessly-bleeding-into-each-other days, full of a million tiny parenting microfailures and cliched complaints and inconveniences. I just needed to shut up about myself and let others drive the conversation for a little while.

Plus, for three full weeks, the most recent photo on my phone was one I took at the grocery store, on the day when Clorox Wipes finally came back into stock. 

I told myself I would write something when I had something to write about, something I WANTED to write about. And sure enough, eventually I’d find myself writing a blog post in my head while brushing my teeth, while staring at the ceiling while wide awake at 1 a.m., or while making a rare, thrilling, terrifying drive to shop at a store that won’t deliver, for gods’ sake, why won’t you deliver??

(Our liquor stores do not deliver. Leaving us with no choice but to regularly risk our lives for red wine and bourbon. But maybe don’t tell the Internet that? I’d think, and then delete the post from my brain.)

But then every time…something would happen. Something small, maybe, another part of life and normalcy lost to the never-ending Pandemic Grief Parade that sapped my motivation. Or something big, like in the news, and I’d decide that the timing was off, and I should let another Big National Conversation happen without me. Like maybe that wasn't the best time to jump back in with a "hilarious" post about how I ran out of deodorant and had to use an ancient expired stick of Tom's of Maine that somehow survived the Deodorant Wars.

True story.

We are all fine.

Even with all that baking and sourdough, I lost 30 pounds. At some point in late October, my hair started falling out in chunks. (Hence the headless strategic cropping on my Last Post That Wasn’t Supposed To Be The Last Post.)

The night of the election, I went to bed sobbing uncontrollably from stress, and allowed myself one (1) bloodcurdling primal scream into my pillow before falling into a deeply medicated sleep.

The next week, we all developed symptoms (you know, THE symptoms). One of Ike’s neighborhood friends spiked a fever, and his doctor told his entire family to go ahead and get tested. Jason and I spent two-and-a-half hours waiting in a drive-thru testing line and then four to five days waiting for our results. 

We are all fine. It was just a cold.

By Christmas, my hair was growing back. We had a great day at a tree farm and selected our “Best Tree Ever,” according to all the kids. (A far cry from last year’s clusterfuck of a family outing.)

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We gave Noah the "Best Christmas Ever" by tracking down the original theatrical, non-special-extra-CGI-editions of Star Wars and a (kinda) functional VHS player, both of which we (kinda) led him to believe were beyond impossible to get anymore for less than many hundreds of dollars. 

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(Turns out you can get a brand-new, still-shrink-wrapped VHS box set of the trilogy for under 20 bucks on eBay. A working VCR turned out to be the more difficult item to procure.)
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For my birthday, Jason got me a proper little desk and a happy yellow chair (and the happy yellow family portrait you'll see at the end of this post). I gave him my office “temporarily” last March since I wasn't working full-time yet and hahaha we all know how that turned out. I spent seven months working full-time from bed with my computer on my lap.

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(In my sad sack depressed person's defense, it was the only place in the house I had 1) a door to close, and 2) the lowest chance of accidentally appearing in the background of somebody's damn Google Meet or Zoom Whatever while braless and still in my pajamas.)

On New Year's Eve we baked poop emoji cookies and burned a 2020 scented candle (complete with a wee wax dumpster on top). And I dyed Ezra’s hair a bright happy yellow.

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I thought maybe the first week of January was a good time to write about some of that stuff. Maybe even if it was just our small little victories and a couple photos. Even if I selectively edited out how Ike was failing all his classes (including LIBRARY, come ON) and crying every day over virtual learning...or how Noah rarely ever left his room and only interacted with people he yelled at in multiplayer video games…or what all this crushing isolation was doing to them, to ALL of them...maybe I could find enough good stuff to fill in around the blank spaces.

And then January 6th happened, and my hair all fell out again. The blank spaces and bald spots were just too big to write around.

We are all (mostly) fine.

Ike went back to school on March 1st, four-and-a-half days a week, on the recommendation of literally everyone who works with him. There are currently just two other kids in his classroom, and every morning he has the entire school bus to himself. Noah and Ezra will go back two days a week, but not until April. They are so bored. Ezra is so lonely. They are all so strong and uncomplaining and resilient, every one of them.

My mom got both doses of the vaccine. Jason and I are still two phases away from eligibility in our state, so…a few more months? End of summer? Maybe make it a family thing on Noah’s 16th birthday in September? (Yes. You read those last five words correctly.)

We are currently estranged from other family members who are refusing it, who call it the so-called experimental “vaccine” in scare quotes, and who have fallen deep into various Internet conspiracy rabbit holes, and who probably now consider me part of the Deep State for working at the FDA, pushing my radical leftist agenda on them, even if all I do there is SharePoint. (MICROSOFT! BILL GATES! SEE?!!? IT’S ALL CONNECTED!!!!!)

It makes us very, very sad and frustrated and tired.

But.

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At least once a week, Jason and I watch The Prom with Ezra and Ike, because it’s fun and makes us happy. (Noah opts not to join us, but thank god for WandaVision, which got him out of his room and deeply involved in our nightly obsessive family theorizing.) It eventually morphs into a singalong dance party, and Ezra specifically wears the sparkly, glittery rainbow Chucks of his dreams, the ones I couldn’t find for him but a wonderful blog reader and Facebook friend did. I was planning to save them for Christmas but on November 7th she texted me GIVE THAT BOY HIS SHOES!!! 

So I did.

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If things Get Normal, we’ll be able to take them to see The Prom in person in 2022, along with all the other canceled shows I still have our 2020 tickets to tacked up on the fridge. I don’t know, though. That will be weird, right? When we as a nation will have to confront our collective PTSD about Inside Things With Strangers’ Spew-y Face Holes?

We’re fine. We’ll all be fine.

But, again.

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Every Sunday night is Dad’s Homemade Pizza night where everybody gets a pie with the toppings of their choice, a truly delightful tradition we probably wouldn’t have hit on otherwise. We take turns attempting to keep the cookie jar stocked with homemade cookies, although the kids’ unwavering loyalty and preference for basic-ass chocolate chip cookies is driving me to new heights of boredom. I still make a family dinner every weeknight and pick something new to try out each weekend. The best thing I baked all year (but forgot to take pictures of) were the mock McDonald’s apple pies from BraveTart, and the best things I learned how to cook from scratch were tamales and Ethiopian food.

Once a week, though, I take a dinnertime for just myself and eat it in front of the TV alone. I put on a movie I’ve seen a hundred times before and make what the  The New York Times’ Cooking section calls “Perfect Instant Ramen.” It's really just a comforting bowl of high-sodium processed trash food, and that’s okay. It’s fine.

It's actually perfect. 

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Comments

Leslie

January 6th?

Glad to hear even little stuff and hope the world moving in the right direction happens faster and faster!

Emba

Yay welcome back. None of us have any news either. That family portrait is amazing 😍

Brooks

So glad that you are all doing as well as the rest of us, and yes, January 6th sucked balls.
I am deriving immense pleasure reading about the angst and whining that the seditionists are doing about having to spend time in jail and the unfairness of it all. They sound suspiciously like deplorable snowflakes. What goes around...
p.s. LOVE the Chucks!

Beth

I am so happy to hear that you, and your household, are basically all fine.... I know not being fine. This past year has been full of not being fine in a million and one ways - not limited to my dad and dog dying. I do want to thank you for stating previously when you were not fine. It helped me realize how NOT fine I was. I have followed you for way, way, way too long and so mostly de-lurking to say. Thank you. Thank you for all the things. Including Deodorant Wars which made me laugh soooooo hard (even now it makes me laugh.) *big virtual hugs to you and yours.*

The bee

I love every word of this Amy. The pandemic did one thing for me that may never have happened.
I came out in my real life and on my fb page a few months ago. I lost my far right insane Trumper family and a few friends. I gained everything though. I am so glad to read that we are all in the same leaky , imperfect boat. I adore all of you and I want a pizza one day. Mushroom and green pepper.
Bee

Patricia Lee

:heart emoji:

Chris

So very happy to read this update. Sounds much like our family. Every day is the same, but we are still here and that is something. Be well and know that you are thought of often! <3

Jaclynn

Oh, girl, there is zero shame in sharing the things & the feels, both good & bad. It made Ezra happy to dye his hair yellow? That makes ME feel happy that he’s happy. Noah’s thrilled to get a VHS boxset? I’m thrilled FOR him. You found an old stick of deodorant from a long passed yet hilarious melodrama about deodorant? gaaahahaha I cracked up re-reading the archived links! Your “doesn’t feel like the right time” is someone’s “fuck I could use a light hearted little story right now.” Your “ugh, I don’t to be a downer”’ could be someone’s “I wish I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.” You have something to share and it’s ill received by a select
few? meh, that sounds like a personal problem for them 🤷🏼‍♀️
you don’t owe us a blessed thing, but you owe it to yourself to not give a fuck how a faceless nameless internet someone perceives what you share.

P.S. if you need a giggle, more often then not when I’m typing “Amalah” I accidentally start typing “Anal”

Brandi

So glad to hear from you! We’re all limping along as best we can. It’s been a shitty 12 months, no question. Send you a huge hug!

Karen

So wonderful to hear from you and know that you're doing okay.

BG

More than anything, this reads like someone feeling really guilty - and you totally shouldn't. Everyone's world is a shit show, upside down, weirdo mess and expectations are out the window, my friend. If writing on this page doesn't fill you up anymore, the world understands. And your boys will totally be okay. My MIL (with two boys, my husband who is dyslexic/OCD and my BIL who has ADHD, one who became an engineer and the other a doctor) once told me that the secret to having awesome, successful kids is to just love them really hard through all the things. And I don't know you outside of your writing, but if I've gleaned anything it is that you and Jason love and support those boys in a hundred million ways. It will all work out. Trump is out of office, vaccines are out there, and I predict your family will wise up and get the shot eventually.

Dawn

Noah’s ... turning 16?

I think I just died of oldness.

I will wish him a happy birthday now, with time being what it is now.

Also wow does he look like his dad. Handsome fellas!

Glad you are all at least “pandemic well.”

Amy

I got so excited when I saw an update that I almost couldn't read. Happy to hear from you! Glad you're doing mostly well.

Christine

Oh, I'm so glad you're here. I admit, I did lurk and stalk on various platforms a while back until I was sure you were still out there somewhere.
We will get there, in the end. We'll all get there.

Kim

I cannot with the last five words of that sentence. I am feeling very old right now. Lol

Glad to see an update, and sending love your way -

Katie H.

I’m glad you’re all doing okay, but incredibly sad you feel that going out is risking your lives. It’s a virus. Most of us will likely get it and 99.7% will survive. I find comfort in that! I hope you all get back to living fully and not suffering the completely understandable pains of the world today.

Sarahd

I’m just so happy to hear from you and see you all! Like y’all are one of those favorite TV shows you THINK gets cancelled but then it gets picked up by another network and you’re all YAY “THE STORCHES” IS BACK ON!!! Now you just need a theme song, I guess🤣🤣🤣

Kimberly

It's my birthday, and that fact that you posted today - of all days - is just the cherry on top of really great day!

Laura B

ALL OF THIS AND SO MUCH HEART FOR YOU!

(Seriously, I checked your blog this MORNING and was Sad, and somehow clicked back through this evening and now I am Very Glad, even though my provincial government here in Texas of the North is REOPENING MOAR TODAY despite, well, you know.)

Webgenie23

OMmmGEee ... I was totally all ... who is that big kid with the dark hair??? And then, all I could hear was baby Noah giggling in the octagon. And I got all kinds of verklempt. ❤️❤️

Sara Speth

So glad you're back. I've checked every day and have missed you!

Zoot

I'm glad to hear everyone is doing (mostly) okay. Obviously you have no obligation to update the interwebs but it does my heart good to read your new words. Love the yellow hair. <3

Liz

So glad to see you and...as one of the people who stopped blogging without a goodbye, it was mostly because most of my stories involved my son and he didn’t want me to share them, but he didn’t mind my sharing photos on FB...and there we were.

Holding you tight. So lovely to see you all! Glad your mom got vaccinated.

Kelli

I've been a ghost on this site off and on for years and yesterday I just suddenly thought, "I wonder what amalah has been up to. Noah and the boys must be huge these days." I'm glad to see you're making your way through all ~this~ generally intact, even if it's with some bumps and bruises. Take care here, there, IRL - where ever you feel the most comfort.

SuziMac

So lovely to hear from you again ❤️

kate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDzV5MNlaCs

i mean what?

Victoria

So v glad that you're back! And pandemic well is about all I aim for these days

Lori

I’ve missed you, and I understand. I’m glad you all are mostly okay.

I got my first dose of Pfizer last week. I feel a measure of hope for, if not a “return to normalcy”, then perhaps a new something that will allow for social needs to be met.

Happy almost birthday Noah!

Heather

I missed you.

Jen

Missed you ❤️ Glad you’re doing alright ❤️

Tressa Morgan

So happy for the update! I’ve followed your blog since Noah was a toddler. I’m 55 but I’ve learned so much from you and your challenges. Thank you for your open and honest posts! Sending hugs and calm thoughts to you!

BMom

You’re as awesome as a sparkly rainbow pair of Chucks! Loved hearing from you

Vedjen

I missed you. And cry reading all this as I / we have felt exactly the same for all this time. Bright skies are coming. I hope.

Anna

Noah turning 16 makes perfect sense as I graduated high school 15 years ago and started reading around the time I started university, but damn does both parts of the math make me feel old.

No matter what though it was nice to see you back. If you feel up to it, and no pressure at all, could there be a post about the pets sometime? I’m pet-less due to small apartment living, and I try to limit visits to my parent’s corgi-pug and or my aunt’s Border collie-whippet, even though it’s outdoors and masked when I see them. I’ve been living vicariously through internet pets.

Great title for the post.

Lauren

OMG how is Noah so grown up!? I totally get the insane paralyzing pandemic grief and stress. We’re here for updates whenever you want to share them.

Abi

I'm so glad things are going okay. I was trying hard not to worry. But was worrying about so many other things, what's one more? I love Ezra's shoes. My five year old son is also named Ezra, and I am so happy to live in a world where Ezras can have rainbow sequin converse.

Graygirl

So glad to hear from you and to know you all are staying afloat.

I briefly crossed paths with a friendly neighbor this morning, someone with whom I have not had a proper conversation in more than six months. Our respective updates? My daughter tried to kill herself in November, neighbor’s brother died unexpectedly in December. F$@& this time, seriously.

MJ

Welcome back. ♥️ So good to hear from you. Especially love the family portrait.

Pip

So glad to see your words on this page! You owe no one an update, but please know you bring an immense amount of joy to your readers amongst these rubbish times. You are an inspirational Mum and an all round great human, and it shines through your writing. Thankyou!

Katie

So wonderful to hear from you!🤸‍♂️❤️!! Everyone is doing shitty at the moment so don’t be sorry for anything, Amy. All the best to you and your family, for what it’s worth, you have made my day with this update 😘

Sue W.

Glad you are all as ok as is possible these days. You have been missed.
If you are not blogging regularly, your kids should not be able to age!

Elf

I missed you. I'm so glad you are doing ok. Also, I love the desk, what is it? (We have similar issues that need a similar solution except that there is no office so the bed is the better space over which we compete instead of the fallback :)

Paige

It is so so so very good to hear from you! Completely understand on the lack of updates, but I've gotta say this absolutely made my day :) We are very much in the same boat and rooting for all of you.

Ally

So happy to hear an update! It's been so hard in so many ways, and I think watching the loneliness our kids are experiencing is the hardest aspect for me. Hoping the rest of this year brings more light and joy.

ccr in MA

I'm so glad to hear from you! Totally get being okay/not okay. We all do what we can in the moment, every moment. I used to be a much more regular blogger and it has drastically diminished lately. Which, you know, eh. I have to do it for me, first, and if I don't want to, I'm not going to. But hopefully someone is glad when I do, as I am that you did!

Lauren

Came here to say WELCOME BACk and MISSED YOU!!! But then I got distracted by that AMAZING Simpsons portrait of your fam, because WHAT. SO GOOD.

LeighTX

I was thinking of you just the other day--I've been reading this blog since before Noah was born (SIXTEEN not possible) and I've missed your "voice."

My husband is a youth pastor, and he worries daily over his students; they all seem to be struggling in one way or another. Your boys are certainly not outliers in these tough times.

Like you we've had to cut out some family and bite our tongues with others; my step-mother-in-law (who has been vaccinated) (and whose brother is an advisor to Greg Abbott, God bless Texas) told me last night that she won't shop anywhere that requires a mask, because she's "given up enough of her liberties." I said, "Hm, I'm just the opposite, I won't shop anywhere that doesn't require masks." And then we politely changed the subject. And then I ranted about it in the car on the way home.

Anyway it's good to hear from you. Take care of yourself. :)

Anna A

It is so good to hear from you again—I’ve very much missed your voice, because it’s so relatable. We are similarly “fine” in Seattle, albeit with much younger kids. The days blend together, the guild builds, the frustration bubbles over and then we reset and do it again another week.

Brigid

So happy to see this here- long, long time fan! Hang in there! Your writing is relatable and helps people feel connected, even where there's no big news to share!

Jill

Thank you for this. We are living the same life. We’re fine ;)

Longtime Lurker

I have been checking for updates every single day. Please, don't go away again!

Jen

My teenager barely leaves her room too, just about everyone I know with teens sees the same thing these days.
And I am feeling hopeful that the vaccine rollout is speeding up and we will get to semi-normal soon.

Judi

So happy to read this and see your fam. :)

Fraulein N

Yay! You're back!

Lauren B

Yay Amy! Thank you for the update!

Amanda

I missed you and am so happy to see this post!
My oldest turned 16 a little while back so I knew Noah's 16th had to be approaching soon. It's so wild isn't it.

Glad to hear you're all pandemic-fine. What a mind fuck this has all been.

I need to thank you for your post about ADHD. That was a huge lightbulb moment in my world. Like in my top three paradigm shifting moments. It was pretty life changing for me to finally understand why life just seemed so much harder for me to navigate and I started down a road of forgiveness towards myself that has been so healing. All because of your post.

Anyway. Thank you. Really really thank you.

Amanda

Alison

So, so glad to hear that you are kinda sorta good. We are too. Haven't slept through the night since last March 13th. Kinda addicted to TikTok now. Can't read fiction because I can't suspend disbelief. Hanging in. Waiting for vaccines. Hanging in.

Angie

Your Good Place welcome sign is perfect!

SB

I've had to limit how often I check in here- hoping, fingers crossed... hoping for someone relatable to say something uh relatable I guess Thank you - happy beyond measure to read this today Thank you

Melissa

Im so happy to see you back!! I check all the time but today got an audible "YAY!" from me. Thank goodness Im home and not at the office so I only disturbed the cat. Its all so relatable all the way down to the hair falling out. You are doing a great job with your kiddos. Hang in there and please keep posting.

Alex

So good to see you. xo

Katie

So happy to see this update! I'm glad you and your family are "fine." We are in a similar state of "fine" around here, and it's nice to know we're not alone.

Carole

The "teenager's yells from their room while online gaming" thing sounds crazy familiar. And the pandemic weight gain? I feel that in my soul..... and every time I try to wear actual pants. I'm glad to hear things are going as well as current circumstances allow. If you need another cookie to try to add to the rotation, I found this, made them recently and they evaporate almost before they hit the plate. At least the uncooked dough I tuck in the back of the fridge for myself lasts a little longer, but REALLY doesn't help with that whole weight gain thing.

Gooey butter cookies

This won't last forever! We WILL make it through to something that looks more like "normal" some day!!

Deanna Piercy

"We're fine." So much nuance in what used to be a simple phrase.

For most of our nearly 40 years of marriage I have written a family letter to enclose in our Christmas cards. For many years now it has taken the form of a cute 2-4 page newsletter with pictures, recipes, news of what we've been up to, etc. But this year? I just couldn't figure out how to strike the right tone and honestly...what was there to share? I decided I would just send cards and write a letter in January. Then January 6th happened. I finally wrote a Valentine's letter but so far have only sent it to a handful of people. It's just been such a weird time.

I'm sorry to hear about the family estrangement. My mom has pretty much written us out of her life, which also includes that of my dad who has dementia. That is, unless she needs something. THEN she calls. She refuses to get vaccinated and has continued to frequent Walmart and the hair/nail salon (mask-less, of course). I'm spending this season of Lent working on my attitude toward a whole bunch of people. I've not had much success so far.

Also, how could Noah possibly be 16?! Six, perhaps.

Diane

This blog post made my heart leap with joy. Thank you for posting again. Not sure what “normal” looks like anymore, but am ok with how it might be now.

Karen (but not that kind of Karen)

You are mighty. The kids are mighty. Jason is mighty. January 6th happened but also January 20th.

Lots of my people use the phrase "pandemic fine" which is "employed and not dead, so better than millions of Americans, but not actually fine". You are so not alone. Your fears are justified. I had the super light, recuperate at home variety and it suuuuuucked. I am now Pandemic Fine. My goddaughters (2 and 3) had it and were hospitalized for a week. They are also fine. Their mom lost 3 extended family members. She is working on being Fine.

That got way gloomier than I meant it to be. What I am trying to say is thank you for taking it seriously. The community spread in the Great Red Middle is INSANE. So happy for the update, thank you.

Rebecca M.

It's good to hear from you again. I saw your Instagram posts, but I was hoping you'd return to blogging eventually.

And the Simpsonified version of your family is just... awesome.

Jessie

I was so happy to see an update. Sending you so much love. ❤️

Janyll

So glad you’re back. I was truly worried. Tbh, a quick “I’m okay. Be back in a while,” would have been welcome and reassuring. Do that if there’s a next time, please? In any case, just wanted to say that my son also went through a couple of years beginning around 16 when he opted out of family life, and that was looong pre-pandemic. It’s normal, it will end. (Also, as a middle aged woman, I’m rather embarrassed to say that Noah is hot!) Wishing you all the best.

gemma

I'm so pleased that you're all doing as-well-as-can-be-expected.

I read a great thing a while ago that said we're not just 'working from home' right now, we're trying to work at home, during a pandemic, which should carry completely different expectations from everyone.

xxx

UK jill

Glad to hear you are (mostly) fine. We are (mostly) fine. That is all I have. Except, wow your children all look fabulous and thanks for letting me shut that 'I hope Amalah is OK' window.

Lisa

Just waving at you from the West Coast in celebration of all that "fine" has come to mean.

Niki

Oh how I have missed you. These days I mostly check Feedly to see if you've reemerged. And, here you are! Much love to your family from a reader that's been around for *gulp* over 16 years.

AmandaL

So happy to see that you're (mostly) okay! Pandemic times have been strange, yo.

Jodi

Welcome back! Missed you!

Emily

So very happy to read an update from you - thank you!!

M

So glad you're ok! Missed you. Thank you for updating. Look forward to when you feel up to it again.

Cindy

So so glad to see you and the pictures of your beautiful family back online! Your post helped me feel like a bit of normal has returned. Take care, we are right there with you—virtually.

Mel

I want to echo all the posts above me...they said it just right.

Good to hear from you. Love the yellow hair! And the shoes. :-)
Life is mostly fine. Lost 9 people in my outer circle to this horrid disease.
No patience for non-maskers.

Also have a grandchild who really, really needed to go back to school. How can you fail phy.ed.?
In a pandemic, when all you had to do was log 30 minutes of activity 3x week.

Grandchildren have learned they better have all the homework done before I get there.
They really, really don't want me to 'help' with it.

Much to their surprise, grandma still remembers calculus.

Marianne

Oh, Amy. Ok is fine. I'm so glad you're okay. I'm so sorry for the struggles and how shitty everything is. Even when it's not the worst, it's still bad enough. I am always so amazed how you're able to put all of these complicated emotions into clever paragraphs.

My 7th grader has been circling the drain with severe anxiety and major depression and was allowed to go back to school for a half day for the past few months. He was still sad and isolated, since there were only 5 students who were considered high risk. Well, on Monday, his school finally went back and we're already seeing him less despondent. It's going to be a journey, but I'm hopeful.

My younger two, a 4th grader (failing everything) and a preschooler, are also struggling. I go *to* work, and we've just put our youngest into daycare. She's having panic attacks about being around people, loud things, and not being with the family members she's been locked down with for a quarter of her life. Everything is hard and frustrating and sad. I keep looking at the light at the end of the tunnel and keep trying to have patience and give grace. (I too am failing at everything.)

thank you for sharing your family and your life with us for the past 16 years. You're amazing and I'm grateful.

Erin

Yes, yes, and yes. I understand and sympathize with everything.

I have my set of the original theatrical Star Wars VHS on my bookshelf... they're the only VHS tapes I kept because I know they don't include all the dumb extra scenes George Lucas added. I don't even own a VCR! I love that that's what Noah wanted and also..... 16? Are you sure?

Glad you guys are ok/not ok and doing weekly pizza nights and Ike went back to in person school and wait what about the animals? :)

Charlie

You sound like every one of us. Both fed up and also amazed by some of the good things to have come out of this year. So good to read your blog again. Those handsome boys of yours sure are growing up x

Amanda

Missed you. So glad you're back. If you're inclined, would love to hear more updates.

I think I can relate in that life is pretty hard for me most of the time. But! I'm feeling great that Trump is silenced, vaccines are rolling out, and beautiful spring days are here.

Nancy

So happy to see your post! We are all in this together... with some days slightly less bad than others. But we're inching back toward maybe being able to see people and go places. One day at a time. And don't forget, you don't owe us anything... but I think it's safe to say we're collectively thrilled to hear from you and see your giant boys and dumb cats and that amazing family portrait.

Rebecca C

This is like a letter from a friend that took a transatlantic voyage and forever to arrive but was totally worth the wait. Happy eleventy thousandth day of pandemic working form home and schooling from home and OMG will we ever leave home again? Tomorrow is literally the 365th day of homeschool and we all hate it now. But I love that you checked in with us. I gave my husband a Simpsons family portrait for father's day last year and IT ROCKS.

Jenine

If you haven't heard the antifa hoedown yet: https://twitter.com/Julia_SCI/status/1365506952571146240.
Happy 2021! With all the ambivalence that carries. But I'm happy to wave at you from over here and I wish you and your family the besttttt!

Rachel

Wait--where's the picture of the grocery store when the Clorox wipes came in?! I feel like I've been misled...

Kristen Max

Been checking frequently.

Glad to hear from you. It's been a year, right?

My assvice is to start emerging from the cave, little by little. I live in Florida, so we've never really been IN the cave, but I know that other areas of the country are feeling a little more PTSD than most of us here. Wear your mask, start the process, and know that it's not half as scary as you may have been led to believe.

xoxoxo

Stephanie

I'm so glad to hear from you, and I'm glad Ike is back in-person.

My 40th birthday was on January 6. It was never going to be the day I wanted given the pandemic, but never expected it to henceforth be known as "Coup Day". I decided to scrap my day and celebrate the following weekend.

I hope someday soon you can scrap the past year and then celebrate. You deserve it.

Jill

You’ve been missed! Thank you for sharing. You have a gift of weaving humor into real life. Happy to hear about your self-care sodium-fest weekly dinner. Great idea.

Tracy

Today I was searching for information on curly hair styles bc my Robbie wants to have his hair cut shorter. But I finally started having him use a curly hair conditioner and oh my goodness, he has curls!!!! andlong hair because other than making certain he can see, I haven't cut it much. I don't know HOW. And while I was searching. I was reading this alphamom article on curly hair and wait, this is amalah! And I missed you.So I checked your blog and voila, a new post.

I wrote all this to say that I recently decided on a quote I want to look at all spring quarter (dh is a professor. we live on the quarter system). I thought you might like it too. I am very hard on myself and this is so helpful to remind me that I am doing what I can.

"Some days, doing "the best we can" may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn't perfect on any front - and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else."
Mister Rogers

Maegan

Good to see and hear from you again. I would check in and then realize nothing is like it was... posts from my favorite bloggers are different, less than "normal" but nothing is normal. We are all slowly emerging. Frazzled... slightly traumatized but looki

RzDrms

I had to look ten times - and am still unsure - at the yellow-haired photos of Ezrah, especially the one with no glasses, to be sure that definitely 100% wasn’t you, even though it looks like you, he’s your identical twin in those photos, so bizarre.

I too need to be careful when typing “Amalah” into the search bar because the M is right next to the N and I’ve typed the N so many times accidentally that I too almost told you about that dozens of times but didn’t until another commenter did here.

Really surprised and unsure why the first commenter wrote “January 6th” followed by a ? question mark and wonder how the horror of that day could ever be forgotten or questioned or unknown.

I couldn’t find the second cat in the “Yellow Simpson” photo for about two minutes and mildly panicked.

I love you. And your family.

ETA

Rzdrms - that commenter wrote January 6th with a question mark because the blog post said November 6th. It was a suggested correcti

Ani

I am so glad you updated! I look about once a month for a new blog entry from you, someone I have been reading for over 16 (before you were a mommy!) years! So glad to hear you’re all fine! We love you out here in cyberspace!!!!!

Laraine Gurke

So glad you’re back. I hope you stay awhile and also, it’s ok if you don’t! Everyone should give themselves all the breaks right now. Everything is so rough.

Laura

I cried reading this, partly because I am happy to have your voice back and to hear all the not newsy news, and partly because I am also, obviously, just fine. I love the yellow hair, pizza night and the family photo is gold. You are not alone in the crazy tired, the estranged family, or the frustration of it all.

Holly

A little late, but adding to the chorus, it is nice to "hear" from you. Thank you for sharing. We are also "Pandemic Fine" now, though my anxiety has made it hard to function more than once in the past year. Things are looking up and I am counting the days until I qualify for the vaccine.

rose

THANK YOU FOR COMING BACK! I hope you continue to say HI. You lift morale, provide a feeling of hope, normalize the hair loss, understand what doing fine/not fine is all about. You are a gift and I am so glad you have all survived and not been sick..... because of course....
Thank you. We care and are holding your hands just like you hold ours. You make such a difference.

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