Like you, I knew on Friday March whatever it was that on the following Monday schools would close. Closure wasn’t formally announced yet, but schools had already shut down in other states and I could tell our district was eager to cancel as well–they didn’t come out and say it, but I could tell: much beating parents over the head with ‘contagious’ warnings (I appreciated them) and simply watching the news–China, France, Italy,
Spain–duh, duh, duh. And as every parent knows, schools are ripe for contagion. Duh. So over whatever that weekend was before schools closed, I prepared for homeschooling. I was THAT mom, gathering a myriad of websites, making a weekday Covid schedule, transitioning piano lessons to FaceTime piano lessons, ordering a young person’s introduction to art set, ordering crafts and models and books and 6th grade math workbooks and, sure enough, on Monday, March whatever it was, schools closed.
But then I startled myself. Our first day of quarantine, I told my Tween it was a holiday. We lounged in pj’s, drank hot chocolate, walked the dogs leisurely, and then my son played online games while FaceTiming his buddies: a lot. When my husband returned home (still at work for another week), I ordered him into the shower for office decontamination purposes, and then the 3 of us had the first of what have become regular family dinners, previously tricky things to coordinate due to my son’s piles of nightly homework and my husband’s unpredictable work schedule.
Bottom line: I did not become crack-the-whip Quarantine Mom. I became: this is a super weird time so let’s not make it weirder by pretending it’s not weird by forcing my kid to follow a schedule that makes no sense because there’s a virus out there that’s killing people and my kid is aware, aware, aware that people are dying, that his cousin is an ER Dr. on the front lines, that his auntie is at risk, that this is a weird and dangerous time.
Now that it’s April whatever it is and my husband is working from home and our school district has come up with an actual academic plan that involves my kid’s 6th grade teachers, we follow a strict(er) schedule. The academic work is completed. Chores. Exercise.
But then my son is free until family dinner. This free time makes him happy, pulls him out of adolescent lows. Mornings, he rises, showers, and gets to work without complaint. And then whoops and laughs and shouts gleefully with the gang.
We are mostly calm in this new weird way of living. We are communicating better than before quarantining because we have time to really hear each other. We are holding hands at the dining table and announcing what we’re grateful for before we eat. Every single dinner is family dinner.
And when Mom is on the couch cocooning in her king size white fuzzy blanket, sipping hot chocolate from her favorite mug emblazoned in: LIFE IS TOUGH, MY DARLING, BUT SO ARE YOU, she is waved at, not judged, as she binges on Star Trek or West World or MSNBC or that really bad Finnish crime drama with the bandy legged detective and sloppy dubbing.
Pardon my grammar, but: we’re good.
I hope you are, too.
Yours in practicing fresh, calm ways of living during these scary-screams times,