Today marks 6 weeks since our school district announced they would be closing for in-person classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Six long weeks that have essentially thrust me into a time warp. From that fateful day onward, our world began to slowly (and then quite rapidly) shut down around us–and what a whirlwind it has been!
I have started a routine with my kids each morning where we write down the day’s date together–not so much because I care what day it is, but because if I don’t write it down I fear we will never find our way out of the COVID-chasm again. You could ask me a question such as what I had for breakfast this morning or what day/week/month the International Olympic Committee announced their deferment of this summer’s games, and I would simply look at you with the same dumbfounded look. I just don’t know. We have entered a supernatural realm where time nor space nor work nor former purpose seems to hold any significant meaning. For better or worse: The world has changed.
And, speaking of “for better or worse”, I like to play a little game when life becomes tragically hilarious as it has at this moment. The game is called “Fortunately/Unfortunately” and it goes a bit like this:
Fortunately the world is still spinning.
Unfortunately everything in the world has had to shut down.
Fortunately, my 3 adorable/precious/loved/needy/not-yet-self-sufficient children still have school.
Unfortunately, all of their schooling has moved out of the classroom and onto “the cloud”.
Fortunately, “the cloud” is not an actual cloud, because all of the airlines are shut down and it would be quite difficult to reach the clouds by our own might.
Unfortunately, this means my children are doing school at home. Yes, even the preschooler.
Fortunately, we have internet access and computers and *me* to oversee the daily learning/weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Unfortunately, even teachers working in one of the most tech-savvy pockets of one of the most industrialized nations on earth run into tech issues during remote learning. And Zoom is full of perverts.
Fortunately, my son is too preoccupied with turning his computer background into a mythical Pokémon creature during his Zoom lessons or typing “toot” in the private chat bar to notice any of the tech glitches that may or may not occur during this time.
Unfortunately, he still has to learn the material presented during lessons. Even if they’re on a cloud.
Fortunately, his mom has basically given up on hardcore academics at this point and is pretty well appeased by “good enough”.
Unfortunately, school is not our only preoccupation.
Fortunately, baking and consuming massive amounts of empty carbohydrates is not a difficult task to pull off.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the new jeans that I bought back in February will fit me any more.
Fortunately, I haven’t even tried them on since February (#yogapantsforthewin). Ignorance is bliss.
Unfortunately, diet and exercise is still important. Even when you’re in lockdown.
Fortunately, I have a 100% legitimate excuse for not making it to the gym.
Unfortunately, the gym being closed is not a legitimate excuse for sloth.
Fortunately, my husband is a born-again Cross-Fit converter and we have enough gym equipment in our basement to make Gold’s Gym shudder behind their no-cancellation-policy long-term contracts.
Unfortunately, simply possessing gym equipment does not somehow make you magically fit.
Fortunately, my friend makes Facebook Live videos of her workouts so I can join with her to sweat it out.
Unfortunately, my kids and dog always want to join in my workout fun (Sidenote: The best part of working out is that you do it without your kids and dog.).
Fortunately, I have learned that I can sit my kids in front of a screen for an hour, slip outside with my yoga mat, and nobody ever even realizes I’ve tried to do something without them.
Unfortunately, no good thing lasts forever, and eventually you have to return to the screen zombies.
Fortunately, my children are totally fine with me turning off screens and they never throw a fit or scream or stomp or cry when screen time is over.
Unfortunately, this is a true story. Children losing screen time without losing their minds is a paradox that does not exist in reality.
Fortunately, our TV is password protected and I’m now strengthened from my invigorating bout of exercise. Off go the screens!
Unfortunately, now I have to make dinner. The children are not pleased. They are *just a colossal smidge* tired and cranky and demanding my attention, even though I’ve basically done nothing today except give them my attention.
Fortunately, I have a fridge full of food because I just picked up my once-weekly grocery order last night.
Unfortunately, I have to cook all of the food. Again. For the “Every meal of every day”th time since this lockdown began.
Fortunately, as with all things in my life at this point in time, my acceptance of mediocrity has reached an all-time high. Hot dogs and chips it is.
Unfortunately, this dinner is lacking a bit of pizzazz.
Fortunately, there are several dozen wineries in my town that are now offering free at-home no-contact delivery. Which brings me to my next question: Which pairs better with fire-roasted frankfurters and crispy tortilla strips: Syrah or Zinfandel?
Unfortunately, after dinner we still have to kill a few hours until bedtime.
Fortunately, family movie night has become a nightly occurrence.
Unfortunately, even with Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Plex, PrimeVideo, and a collection of old DVD’s there is nothing to watch.
Fortunately, all of the movies my kids had been anticipating being released in the theaters are now being directly released to home streaming.
Unfortunately, the new Trolls movie costs $19.99. To rent.
Fortunately, it’s still light enough outside in the evening that you can just send the kids outside to play instead.
Unfortunately, your kids seem bent on climbing high trees and jumping off of moving objects. You remind them that they may NOT, for any reason, break a limb right now.
Fortunately, your kid who broke his arm in September and had to wear a cast up to his armpit for the first 6 weeks of first grade understands the severity of the situation. He implores his siblings to comply. Kind of.
Unfortunately, we have spent most of the evening arguing over unwatched movies and safe outdoor playtime tactics, and now it is time for bed.
Fortunately, it is time for the kids to go to bed.
Unfortunately, the kids will not stay in bed forever.
Fortunately, we are putting the kids to bed. Right now.
Unfortunately, the kids getting to bed can not happen soon enough.
Fortunately, both parents are equally motivated to get the kids to bed and we move them through the bedtime routine in double time.
Unfortunately, one kid has a wiggly tooth (WHY AT BEDTIME MUST YOU HAVE A WIGGLY TOOTH?!?!?!) and another kid has somehow outgrown all of their pajamas.
Fortunately, the tooth fairy can still make house calls during quarantine and Amazon carries pajamas.
Unfortunately, everything I order on Amazon is now taking approximately 23 years to arrive.
Fortunately, we’ve sorted out both the tooth and the pajamas, and the kids are finally in bed.
Unfortunately, we have to do this all over again tomorrow.
Fortunately, we have another tomorrow. Another chance to do life a bit differently, to take a step back, to lower our standards, and to try something new. Tomorrow is a gift, and even this will all be over some day.