And we’re the lucky ones…
Today I drove to the school and a sign told me to wait in my car and someone would come out to help me. It was true. Someone came out and asked me what classes my children were in and I told her. She disappeared and returned a few minutes later with two large Ziplock bags with workbooks and loose paper and a few extra number two pencils. I went home and set the work on the dining room table and went about my day.
By lunchtime I had a pounding headache which I attribute to an unholy layer of pollen on everything. The south has many weapons to kill us and none as deadly as allergies. It still hasn’t totally left me but I am in a pondering mood so I decided to write.
A few years ago, I wrote a piece about life changing slowly but all-of-the-sudden. These little moments that seem small but when we look back we can pinpoint the exact moment that nothing was the same. The subtle shift of the earth under our feet. The moment our perspective was changed. There is something about those moments that are sad. It feels like something stolen or an opportunity missed. We grieve the memories slowly through life.
This whole COVID-19 situation will hit us in one way or another. Even if we succeed and stop the spread and protect ourselves (which I believe we are capable of). Even if the economy bounces back. We will still have some scars. The world will be different.
One of the kids asked me today when they could go back to school. That they really wanted to see their friends. I told them, “I don’t know… maybe soon.” And I smiled through the lie. My truth is that I think this school year is over. I don’t think we will go back and finish. For my daughters, I can see what they have lost. Even before they see it themselves.
For Lady Bug, it is the last two months with one of her most favorite people in the world. This person is a teacher with whom she finds love and comfort. She was having an especially hard day the other day and was able to have a Facetime to cheer her up. Those mornings of going to Kindergarten and working on her reading with volunteers and finishing the year out with her friends that she holds dear will probably not be the same. She won’t get to walk over the ceremonial bridge and show her community her growth. Next year she will go back and simply be in first grade. No celebration just a new stage. She will get to experience that odd feeling of seeing people who share your past but not your present. A teacher that you used to know…
For Donna Threeto, she might be even harder hit. Her current teacher has been her teacher for three years. It’s Montessori style so they have combined classrooms 1-3rd, 4-6th, and 7-8th. She loves her classroom and leaving for Spring Break might have been the last day. There. might be a true period of mourning for that loss.
For Threeto and Lady Bug, I can’t describe the comfort of knowing that your children leave home to spend the day with people who love them like their own. These two won’t see their loss until the new phase begins. If they are even able to put words to what they feel. I will donate a tear or two to their cause.
The older two are more flexible and adaptable. They have some chance to stay in touch with a few friends through phones and computers. Prima may miss a summer program that she earned a chance to attend through academic performance. Jane has a summer trip to Chicago that is already cancelled. These are also lost things. Experience that would have an effect and create a memory but now are something less.
But we are not alone. Just like all of the proms and graduations and societal rites of passage, pieces of our lives have been lost and we won’t know it until the night passes and day breaks. There will be talk of postponing graduations and delaying proms but this will only encroach on the next phase of life. It would feel fake and forced. You can’t put time back in the bottle. When the times comes we need to move forward. We will be better served to take the reminder that life can change on a dime and use it to love each other with a little more depth.
More appreciation of the moment.
Give the hugs an extra five seconds of squeeze.
We joke about growing weary of being stuck in our houses with our family. Our patience growing thin. Days like today it seems a very real thing.
But I have everyone close. And they are healthy. And happy. We are growing our own moment in time. We are building the next thing to be stolen. My kids are all at an age where they like me. There is food to eat. We have plenty of TP. Life is good. Amidst the chaos, life is good.
One day in the near future life will return to a new normal. We will emerge from our cave, blinking into the sun.
Our new routine will start suddenly and it will persist. I will mourn the change as another loss. As something stolen. An opportunity missed.
That missing thing is always… more time.
If you are struggling with change, this post is for you. Don’t be bitter about what should have been. Nothing is guaranteed. There are parts of this total shit show that you will miss when it is over. Mourn, adapt, rinse, and repeat.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.
Ps – Just as I finished this heartfelt piece Supermom smashed her big toe with a ceramic cup. Edge of the cup fell right on the joint of the big toe and it is black and blue big time. Send some positive feels her way. I bet she doesn’t miss that part when it goes away.