I am completely aware of how ridiculous that sounds, but let’s be honest, life is ridiculous right now. My story doesn’t look like yours, or hers, or even that girl over there. All of us are writing very different chapters of this same Pandemic novel and I bet there’s very little retelling happening. As for me, writing from the start of social-distancing week 3, distance-learning week 2 and I think I know how toothpaste feels.
Every ounce of emotional, creative and spiritual energy is being pushed out and shared between all of the other humans in my house. Two weeks ago, I was probably a full tube, plenty to go around. Today? I feel like the picture above; I know there’s more to give, but it’s not going to feel good to get it all out. Like so many others, I’m wearing an ill-fitting teacher hat. My kids are in kindergarten, second and fourth grades and each have their own work. A lot of it is self-directed, some of it is even fun … but my daughter looked at me with a math problem last week and I was NO HELP.
More exhausting than the use of my brain power, is the emotional energy it takes to walk my kids through this confusing time. One is an extrovert, the isolation is wreaking havoc on her heart. Another lives for competition, and his friends and team sports feed his soul. The third, well, he’s six and he just wants all. of. my attention. It’s hard enough wrapping my head around everything the news is throwing our way. (No hard feelings, TX.) Helping my kiddos work through their feelings, while desperately keeping them from lashing out on each other is where I spend most of my time. We’re all each other has right now, we have to keep the peace.
There’s another pain point here … the good, excited intentions that have fallen flat, dried up and broken apart. Some of what carried us through week one is still working, other ideas have proven to be ill-fitting and awkward at best. If you’re anything like me, the news about the extended social distancing deadline was 1.) welcomed, let’s stay safe y’all, 2.) expected, because we saw the writing on the wall & 3.) overwhelming, because so many of my good ideas, creative time-wasters and rabbits-in-the-hat are going to be all dried up by next week.
Before you label me a Debbie Downer, know that the beauty of this time is not lost on me, nor are the slow-down opportunities wasted. I’m cherishing the moments, even when it’s hard. I know that I’ll feel full again, probably before too long, and this will be my pattern … full, flat, full, flat (x however many weeks this season lasts.) All of the normal ways that I fill my cup have (temporarily) vanished, but my kids are giving me life, even as they squeeze me in every possible way. Still, some days are harder and more exhausting than others. Maybe you found happiness in hiding today, when I only wanted to hide. Next time you’re feeling tired, hopefully I’ll be ready to pick up the slack. We’re all in this together, even from a distance.