At the beginning of this school year, I started to fret about imminent changes in my life. Changes like my two children being in high school. Sixteen years of defining myself as mom first seemed to be fading away, drying up as surely as my vagina was going to start drying up come my forty-fifth birthday in November. In short, I felt that true middle age was upon me, my sexuality would be sidelined, my children would abandon me, and my relevance as a woman would be revoked.
Last week, social distancing hit our shores, and now, in the inimitable words of Shania Twain, “man, I feel like a woman.”
No more take out dinners from Jersey Mikes or In-N-Out while we frenetically race from school in West Hills to dance in West L.A. on traffic-choked freeways. My house is no longer a way station where no one spends any time together. Nope! Now I drowsily awaken and pad downstairs in my bathrobe to prepare the first of three home-eaten meals a day. I bring turkey sandwiches on toast with potato chips and orange slices to my teenagers in their rooms as they wholesomely study with their friends on video chats. We celebrated Shabbat! We played Rummikub! We went on a walk around the neighborhood! We eat pleasant family dinners where I down one glass of wine, then another, after which we retire early, and my husband and I have sex every night.
Well – there was that one night where I didn’t come to bed because he told me I was being passive aggressive in the way I asked him to take the trash out, and then he told me not to yell at him about something political, so I refused to come to bed and he couldn’t sleep because he was too stressed out after reading seventy-five articles about the spread of Covid-19 and he hadn’t had the nightly nookie he’d become accustomed to in the last week, so he tossed and turned and woke up bleary-eyed and miserable… .but otherwise – Yes! Sex every night, and even some mornings!
So – putting aside the global pandemic, death, insecurity, isolation, pain and a decimated economy – I have been enjoying a wine-fueled Leave-It-To-Beaver-like existence – Yes! For now. It’s been one week. I feel supremely confident that I won’t continue to dwell in this pleasantly tipsy fantasia of old-fashioned femininity forever. But in the meantime, I guess I’ll just keep trying to enjoy it.
Thank you Karen, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series: