“Alexa, play mellow music.” Oh yeah. That’s where I am. Mellow.
When the world went to pandemic-in-a-handbasket I took it in stride. (Mainly because I had been horribly sick just weeks before everything went virus and was so out of touch I had no clue what was going on.) When schools were closed it felt like a haze. As more and more information came out about the virus I was a hard “no” on sending my preschooler in to the classroom. It wasn’t worth it if kids were going to get wicked sick. It wasn’t worth it if kids were the silent carriers (a.k.a. Grandma’s little doomers). It was easy, because it was preschool. I didn’t have to struggle much. I’d get to keep her home. I’d keep her safe. I also had the option. I know that’s not the case for many, if not most.
And then here comes fall. Things are heating up. A treadmill injury has me out of commission and drops me back out of touch. I withdraw. I’m bummed. I’m frustrated. My husband’s an angel. I said in February when I was sick that I wanted some down-time, time just for me, but I didn’t want it if it was only coming in snot-covered tissues and mind-altering headaches. And now a cast. Here I was, a few weeks from starting virtual schooling and I’m in for an x-ray and then another weirdly calming (and freaking loud) MRI. I’m trying not to overthink. I’m trying to feel good about my choices. Not to return to the loving arms of the private school we preschooled with. Not to homeschool. To trust the public school system to do the thing I want (virtual). Jury is still out if it is the right thing. I’m not in charge. I don’t know if virtual education was the right choice. I am grateful of the choice made.But my leg, which is not broken as expected and instead just a weird phone call where it is “strained but there’s something up with another part of your shin that we’d like to keep an eye on” (Can I do an eyeroll emoji here?); my leg is distracting me from most things because dragging around a 4lb air cast is exhausting when trying to keep up with two kids. (Many thanks my mother for coming to my aid.)
So I’m booted and dragging myself all over to set up a home classroom for my now Kindergartner. I have so many feelings about this. In the past three years of being home I have made it my mission, and sometimes I have failed, to make my kids have childhoods. Independent little ones who know I am here to catch ’em, but also know how to play on their own and to play with each other. I’ve tried to give them precious moments, iconic childhood moments, but this summer has been a hodge-podge of outdoor time (until heat and mosquitoes set in and then I kept them inside for two months until I could exist outdoors without steeping us in sunblock and Deep Woods Off! for a ten minute excursion to the swingset) and TV/tablet time. It was a mediocre summer. They can’t all be winners and we still came out loving one another. That’s a win.
Now the classroom is set up, it’s the first day of school and after two “classes” my girl burst into tears and I’m holding her thinking I did NOT think this through enough. This was a bad bad plan. Activate “Panic Mommy Mode”! Sigh. Not my finest moments. I kept my cool. I calmed her down, held her and guided her through the rest of the day and the next one. I’m looking meaningfully at my husband and googling virtual/homeschool/private anything and everything. I’ve structured a plan of action. I can homeschool (I can’t). I can be her primary teacher while keeping her little brother occupied (I really can’t). I can totally manage to get her socialized properly and educated better than what’s happening on the latest Zoom call (I super can’t). It took several conversations with the amazing and lovely teachers I am friends and my sister who works in education to help me through that mess of a panic. Thank God they did. After day two my daughter’s apparently an old hat and having no issues but occasional boredom from sitting and waiting for instruction. I feel awful for her. She is disciplined and awesome and pays attention to the instructor while she tries not to fidget and unmute herself to talk like a number of others in her class are doing. She’s feeling frustrated and just wants to learn and absorb. But she is learning. Learning patience and grace and I am so freaking proud of her I could shout from the rooftop if it wasn’t so high up. So here I am.
In the meantime, I’ve completely stopped grocery shopping myself, relying on Instacart and takeout to bring me what I need. I don’t want to go out and I REALLY do not want to go grocery shopping but I have found an odd moment of peace in making a grocery list.Pen to paper. It’s a strange feeling knowing that tomorrow I will go out. It feels almost normal. The girl is in school, the boy is playing and playing and playing his little heart out, hubs is working, and I am going grocery shopping. It feels normal. Balanced, almost, to have routine back in our lives.
I am grateful for the weather turning.
I am grateful for the teachers bearing with us as we panic and learn.
I am grateful for my grocery list and feeling balance for the first time in months.