It's not how Rosh Hashannah should be, these Days of Awe nearly always crisp and autumnal, sporting achingly blue skies to be glimpsed longingly from inside the synagogue's hush and thrum.
But I have not been this year, sending the menfolk off without me, this virus hitting hard as the holiday's just begun. We have managed the bare minimum tradition requires: a round challah procured, apples honey-dipped, a family meal shared, a sweet new year requested.
And now all I long for is sleep, sleep, sleep. And the room to stop spinning. And the unholy pile of dishes in the sink to wash themselves. And for my mother to walk again.
No matter how far I go in my thoughts, it keeps coming back to that: this huge lump of sadness lodged deep under my heart like that bubble of acid that would not go away throughout my entire pregnancy, spilling out if I tilted just the tiniest bit off true, to the left or right.
My mother has not been my compass for many years, yet I am hers. All she has left. But I am spinning, spinning, spinning right now, unable to find my North.
The storm outside will not come on, teasing all day with skies darkening and lightening and the air growing thicker and thicker until we are all covered in a sheen of our own sweat though we are doing nothing more strenuous than engaging in yet another internecine battle of the homework wars.
Finally, as dusk comes on and the winds begin to lash, the heavens clearly ready to finally open up at any moment, I must leave the apartment for the first time in days, driven by an empty medicine bottle of Jacob's plus the deep need see something other than these walls and my children.
But one insists on coming with: Ethan who will not be separated, even though that age is coming on soon when I will be the one clinging and fearfully watching his back as he strides away. He proceeds to be helpful, carrying bags as we make a few stops to stock our waning pantry as well as pick up his brother's necessary pills.
By the time we trudge back, laden, dying to peel off the rain jackets that were not really necessary but instead have encased us in our own steamy dampness, it has grown near dark and the wind pushes against our bodies, something substantial to resist, fight against, instead of each other, as we find our way home.