Hey! Are you okay? Should we be worried about you? my neighbor called across the Moehle-sized stretch of lawn that separates our houses. I read your posts. Looks like you were having a tough time.
Admittedly, yes. Who hasn't been stressed out? With each day, news of how quickly the virus has spread--who has contracted it, who has succumbed--is hard to ignore while we attempt to maintain our connection to the world outside our own homes. Any of us with a school-aged child at home might catch something like this (pictured left), an inbox choc-full of emails from all the teachers that connect to a platform for which each student in your home has a different account, log-in, password, code, QR image, fingerprint, security clearance, or magic word.
So tonight, I'm reflecting on the good. Maybe they'll bring you a moment of peace too.
I went into the wild, wild grocery store and was amazed and humbled by the Clark Kent-esque cashier who held his palm up before I could unload my groceries on the belt.
STAND BACK, MA'AM! His teeth glinted as he sanitized the belt carefully, mindfully, with the intention of a Tibetan monk tending his mandala. I looked on with admiration from the red tape line at the foot of the belt, where all respectful customers stay to practice social distance from the heroes who continue to come to work so that way may eat and have toilet paper and (fine, I'll admit it), pineapple/habañero kombucha (guilty pleasure, I'm not proud).
This morning, having received two not-school emails reminding us that there are folks among us who will be feeling the pangs of isolation and loneliness as we continue on lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, the kids made cards to send virtually.
What should they say? they asked. Don't be sad? Don't feel lonely? You are thought of? (NO! No passive voice, mom says!*) This is what they did, and it made me happy.
I also loved this moment:
Yep. The man who's trying to talk some damn sense into all of us because he ACTUALLY knows what he's talking about is now on a CUPCAKE. You love him so much for all his reason and making medical jargon into pedestrian lingo so that there's a fighting chance we can put the coronavirus (why should it get capitalized? it's evil) behind us. You love him so much, you can take a bite out of him. Oh--and the story was picked up by the AP, so #Roc On!
While the rest of our daily "schedule" may have fallen by the wayside, save for the weekly, online music lessons that may or may not be the only time I actually wear proper undergarments and makeup in case I actually have to see another human adult, I have instituted what I like to call the Golden Hour: one hour of quiet time where everyone is in their rooms, no screens, and doing whatever the hell they want as long as they are not bothering me. So far, I have taken three naps, successfully, finished a book, and had an online therapy session with no interruptions (except to answer this question: mom, do you know where the band-aids are?). Golden Hour is bliss.
There was this moment, this afternoon, when it felt like I was unloading the dishwasher for thousandth time. I was grumbling to myself when Kitty Von Kat pranced over and took her rightful place on the still-hot dishwasher door. While I am skeeved out by this, and wish I'd had a dish towel ready for her, she must have sensed that I needed a reminder to take a break and sit wherever I damn well pleased.
It was good.
I made that. Eggplant parm with fresh basil. BOOM.
And enjoyed it with my husband, because we made the kids eat first and then sent them somewhere to play and leave us the heck alone to talk and actually be able to look at each other and be emotional about what's happening everywhere that we can't see.
That we are able to work and eat and drink comfortably is not lost on us. That we can feed our children is not lost on us. We are so thankful for this.
I received this message tonight from an old (old!) student who has the grace to stay in touch with me and the kindness to check in every so often:
I did too, JS. I loved teaching, and I love teaching, but things feel so, so strange today. Today, strangers and my own children are teachers and I'm moving through the world with uncertainty and fear. I'll keep noticing the silver linings and remember that none of us is alone, that friends and family are no farther than a click away.
*Of course my kids don't know what the passive voice is--yet. But by the end of this quarantine they sure as hell will, you betcha.