I remember clearly the day I walked out of my office on March 16th. We had had school that day, knowing that the country was starting to shut down. I think the only kids at Cole’s school that day were teachers’ kids, because, where else is he going to go? Our state announced later than evening we would be out of school, doing AMI work for the rest of that week, with spring break the following week. So many of us honestly thought we would be back in our offices and classrooms by the end of March.
And then all of a sudden we just weren’t. The days at home stretched into April, and my teacher friends adapted gracefully. We picked up a chromebook from Cole’s school, and developed a schedule for school at home (turns out it’s not as fun having your mama as your teacher/counselor/principal/custodian/bus driver/recess duty teacher), and I kept trying to pry high school kids out of their Netflix hidey holes. Time stood still for a couple of weeks, as we held our breaths as to what was next. I had to beg my mom to stop watching the National news, because, after dealing with the devastating loss of my Dad, the loss of normal life was almost too much for all of us.
In the midst of these months at home, where the days seem to be 30 hours long, no joke, we have adapted pretty well most days. Cole is loving to learn how to cook, he has found solace in books, also one of my favorites, and we have spent so many hours outside than we would have normally. We have missed so many of the big things in our lives, seeing our church family in person, with Kids’ church, Sunday church and life groups, soccer practice and games, field trips, days with friends at school, competitions at school and special trips, spring concerts and Fun Day. When Cole realized his much awaited 4th grade field trip and Fun Day had both been canceled, he took himself to his room for a moment. It seemed like every day was another blow, with every day events being postponed for everyone’s health and safety, only to then be canceled.
And then there are the high school seniors, those kids I have begged and pleaded to JUST COME TO SCHOOL every day. All of a sudden they were finished, if they were in good academic standing (which means you are passing all of your classes, and not lacking credits). They suddenly started to wish they were actually back in school, working on their senior pranks, getting to walk the halls of the place they loved (or hated, kinda) one more time, spending one more class with that favorite teacher, walking into the counseling office for a chat, a hug and a snack (gosh I miss hugs) or leaving campus at lunch to go eat with friends. As the days went on, for so many of them and their parents, sad and mad mixed together, since you know, sad and mad are neighbors. As a school, we were bound to think outside the box for how to honor those kids, how to reach them and continue to interact with all of our students, without using anything we had used before. In person anything was off the table, no prom, no senior banquet, and certainly no in person graduations right now.
All of a sudden we all got the thing we never say we have enough of, time at home, and time with the people we love the most. Cole and I have spent more time outside than ever, our garden is happy and thriving, our pets are fat and spoiled. I used to lay in my bed at night and think “Ok. Soccer is Tuesday and Thursday, Church is Wednesday and Sunday, we have a game on Saturday and the ACT, not sure how I am gonna do both of those, and then I need to workout somehow, and plan healthy meals, and budget, and drink all the water”. I found myself always longing for just ONE stay at home night, where we could just play outside, or run to get ice cream in our pajamas. or just be home together. Now, I lay in bed and think about what google hangouts I have the next day, what emails I need to respond to, and what social media posts I need to make for work. While my child misses his friends and school (we are the kind of people who love school #sorrynotsorry), he no longer tells me that he just wants to stop being so busy and just be home for one night.
So here we are. And we get to decide the direction our lives go now. As our state and our lives open back up, and things all look a little different, I just don’t know that I will be as willing to have my exhausted kid tell me he just wants one night home. I am thinking of what we can take off of that super full plate, for eight more delicious years that I get to have him living in my home.
Here’s to all of you doing the best you can right now, managing work from home and school from home, managing working outside of your home and trying to help your kids with school, for those of you simply taking care of yourself, and those of your taking care of your parents (the most stubborn generation, I might add, on a personal note). Keep the faith, and be strong.
You’re doing the best you can.