During a rough patch, that is becoming a bit of a predictable pattern in our quarantine weeks these days, Ally miserably told us she feels like she is ‘living in the shadows.’
How do you respond to that as a parent? Later that same day, Ce had a meltdown over a piano piece that was clearly not about the piano piece.
We are all going to need so much therapy when this is over.
The toughest thing about being a parent many times is that you can’t just throw up your hands at intractable, difficult issues. You need to face them and I didn’t think my usual trick of deflecting the kids by telling them it was really spicy would work. We decided to try empowerment instead.
We all find ourselves struggling in the same mess together. But each of us has agency too, even, or perhaps especially, during adversity. Our job as citizens is to seize our own agency and help others realize their own. In this way, we can help others and ourselves. So if you feel like your living in the shadows find your own way out in whatever way you can.
After this stump speech, she promptly went upstairs and took an hour-long nap and was back to dancing in the kitchen that afternoon so perhaps I overshot the mark? She might have just been tired.
Maybe I should have stuck with the spicy line.
Jan really didn’t get to do much in this week’s episode and, according to Amazon, my copy of 1,001 More Glitter Jokes won’t arrive until late May so I am fresh out of material and turning over the Saturday post to Michelle this week. I’m sure she’ll continue to reinforce the perception that our house constantly smells like fresh bread with micro-climates of rainbows and kids conjugating verbs in ancient Greek.
Someone at work this week told me that the pandemic experience is like being on a red eye flight where you lose your sense of time, you can’t sleep, your seat doesn’t recline back, and there’s occasional bouts of stomach-dropping turbulence.
This week was difficult for me. There were tough decisions to make at work, the official announcement that the kids would not be returning to school came out, the rapid pace and constant engagement had me feeling exhausted, sad, and overwhelmed.
Those of you who know me, know this is NOT my normal disposition, but this week it all caught up to me.
So what did I do? I went to bed early and woke up and went back at it the next morning. I know the family pokes fun of me for never being able to be still, but I feel best when I am engaged and know my purpose.
We may not ever fully understand the “purpose” of this pandemic, but I know my role with my family, with work, with myself and that is what keeps me going.
All that and the arrival of Saturday. We all know our roles on Saturday…
Was that Saturday? Time has become a little elastic. We took a break from all academics and work conference calls. Michelle might have snuck a few emails in, I can’t watch her 24/7. We needed it. The last week almost broke all of us. I believe it will get better. Humans are remarkably resilient but no amount of hot glue, glitter, or Netflix was going to help last week. As a person that really likes routines and daily goals, I had to get very comfortable that things were just not going to get done.
I will say I am happy that the girls get to see Michelle up close and personal at work. At this point, they are used to me working from home and I don’t really do much except push pixels around and occasionally raise my voice to developers that stray out of their lane and think they are designers. Michelle is way more important and I think it’s good for them to see her in this other role.
Kids are always watching and we should let them see us work, to show them what it takes to thrive in this world. We should want them to see us on the phone, sleeves pushed up, (virtually) surrounded by people who respect and depend on us. They see us at our private worst, they should also get to see us at our public best.
Just make sure you know how to work the mute button.