If ever there was a reason to re-start the ol’ blog, now seems as good a time as any.
Today is the first day of the kids’ extended spring break — or rather the COVID-19 break. Doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?
Just like every other family in America (the world?) right now, we are trying to find our way in this strange, sometimes scary, world. A couple of nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and felt “off.” I was overheated and congested (as we are all so very aware, neither is a symptom of this virus), but my barely-awake self started to panic about whether I had it and whether I gave it to my 65-year-old mom who I saw earlier in the day. I eventually fell back to sleep after about 30 minutes of trying to rationalize with the panic inside of me.
When I woke up that morning, I told Scott, “We need to talk about other things during the day.” We had been reading and scrolling and breathing COVID-19 (well, metaphorically) for several days when this mid-night panic happened. Unbeknownst to me, I was soaking up all of that anxiety and worry, and it bubbled out when I wasn’t awake enough to shove it down.
I’m sure many of us are in that same boat.
To try to interject some balance into my life, I started focusing on what was in my control — me and my family. The girls and I made a general schedule for how we’ll spend our days, including time for a little learning, time for free play, time for outdoor adventures and, of course, time for electronics. We tried to find balance in that schedule, too — not too much structure, not too much freedom. This is one of those moments in life that the kids, especially the girls, will remember for the rest of their lives. I want their memories to be full of something other than how scary this time is. I want them to be full of creativity, silliness, peace and togetherness.
Scott and I also discussed our role in the community, the country, the world in minimizing the effects of this thing. With only a few exceptions, we’re staying home.
On Day 1, things are going okay. Scott spent the morning working downstairs, while the kids and I did a few school-type things. The girls are creating their own COVID-19 journals and documenting what life is like for them during this time. They practiced fractions, started an animal research project, started growing crystals and played freeze dance. On a side note, all of that only took an hour. How do teachers make it through eight!?!??!
There was some screaming and fighting (not me ... this time) right before lunch, but now everyone is enjoying some down time watching TV or doing extra credit projects with Scott. (I’ll give you $10 to tell me which twin is doing which activity*.)
Outside of how we’re keeping the peace with the kids, I’m also trying to focus on some things to stay mentally healthy. I’m trying to get out in nature at least once a day. I’m taking a couple of extra seconds, closing my eyes, and being thankful for the bonus board games, family movie nights and meals eaten together. I know we are so very lucky to both be able to work mostly from home and I don’t take it for granted. We’re checking on neighbors and friends who have greater challenges. For me, the best defense against fear, anxiety and sadness is gratitude, hope, generosity and nature. Hopefully my kids don’t smother all of that by Day 14.
*Just kidding. I'm not really giving out money. But I'll tip my hat to you!