Before we entered the weird sub-reality of living life as a parent during a pandemic, we had just lived through a deadly tornado in our much-loved neighborhood of East Nashville. Things can, and sometimes will, change in an instant. Monday, I was actively scheduling a couple of cool fundraisers for my son’s elementary school, hoping to entice the hip parenthood there to play pinball, devour pizza, and booze beers together. By Tuesday, both of the businesses I had booked had been blown over. Needless to say, things were already pretty weird. But, they got a whole lot weirder almost immediately.
The night of the hurricane, my husband Matt and I snagged our son out of bunked and whisked to take shelter in our crawl space with few minutes to spare. With our bike helmets on, I recall drawing what now seems like a lame attempt to comfort our son, a kindergartener. In the urgency of that small-minded opening of duration, I didn’t relatively know what to say aside from “Get down between your daddy and I”. My husband turned the handwriting crank radio broadcasting the grim sense about imminent chance. I heard what sounded like static popping around our crawl space while sirens pealed outside. As their own families, we don’t truly do faith. I consider myself to be somewhere on the spectrum between hag and Buddhist. Yet, I can’t stand anything too defined, so even those descriptions flaw me. I hadn’t officially talking about here our son about devotion though he knows who Jesus and Buddha are and has gone to Catholic mass a few hours. I threw together some kind of quick prayer, but the surreal nature of the moment, and knowing how much of it was entirely out of my button, left an evacuate feeling in my gut. I impounded our son , not knowing what to say, and in a flash, it was over.
We fixed it through the hurricane. But, we too knew it came close. Tornadoes is likely to be remarkably precise–one dwelling saved while the next is ruined. My elderly neighbor, who likewise lived through the 1998 hurricane, announced it “The Finger Of God.” I reflect she’s right, having witnessed it in first-person. The next morning, after not really sleeping, I rode my bicycle down the street in a perplex to bring my bandmate, Nicole, some hot chocolate. Her power had been off since the hurricane, leaving her family without any means of moving hot water. She lives about 4 blocks from me. In that short-lived ride, I realized what a hurricane can do, exhausting the content of a home across a province like a bandit dumping out a handbag. Streets ordered with jagged, torn up homes resembling a jaw of divulged teeth. Trees deprived or alone exterminated, beds convulsed like foliages, automobiles mashed, and ceilings wrapped around electrical spars. But Nicole was safe, and when I saw her face, the reality of how close this tornado came to both of our families was seriously humbling and unnerving. Nature is truly awesome in unfathomable ways, and yes–every moment truly IS treasured. The chocolate beaker that told me this in swirly cursive writing was totally right.
All this is to say that before the Covid-1 9 pandemic make remain, our genealogy was already experiencing disruption. Academies had already been closed, furnishes sparse, beings and organizations separated. But too, we saw how amazingly resilient and loving beings were to one another as millions of voluntaries facilitated remove debris and deliver food to those in need. In a course, it was a small blessing the squall came first, before the fear of contagion, because the sheer number of volunteers would have been virtually impossible to gather a mere two weeks later.
My son, who I will call M, attended school for all of 3 eras between the squall aftermath and academies shutting down indefinitely due to Covid-1 9. Our next expedition as parents is to find out how to make life as regular as possible for M during a world-wide pandemic, post-tornado, without institution, representing IRL with friends or junkets to the playground, zoo, or library. Did I mention my husband and I are both full-time labouring professionals? Oh yeah. He is a creative lead, and I am an skill director–both of which allow us to work from residence, thankfully. Noting what you are grateful for is SUPER crucial on this tour. Our house is still here. Check. We did not get hurt. Check. So far, we have no indications of illness. Check. We can still work. Check.
But, can we work and homeschool and be everything our son needs for an indefinite amount of meter, all while remaining sane and patient with one another, our kid, the “cat-o-nine-tail”, and the snake?[ Check TBD ]. Can we take good enough care of ourselves during this time( i.e ., try our very best not to panic about possible tragedies down the road , not to mention our families who live in different states )?[ Check TBD ]. I don’t got to tell you there are a lot of unknowns. I expect you have your own assembly of circumstances to handle.
I have no answers , but since I feel lucky to simply be alive, I’ve decided to approach this without horror( as much as humanly probable) and sound into my inner-Aquarius for some innovative scheduling and thinking to get us through what’s coming.
Our first step during pandemic parenting : strong> Make things as ordinary as possible for M, but tell him the God’s honest truth about what’s happening . strong> No sugar coating it. Small-scale kids can handle the truth. I know he hears me, even if his next question is about Minecraft again. We will continue to speak in clear terms. If you are in the same boat with parenting a small child during the crap mas of Covid-1 9, I highly recommend you download the comic book from NPR explaining the virus. It clothes all the basics in a kid-friendly way regarding how people get sick, showering pass, and not touching their face.
In keeping with step one, we decided to stop to cancel our springtime transgres plans to rent a sea live on the Emerald Coast of FL. While Nashville continued to shut down everything, we holed up in a cozy 1980 s beach cabin. We didn’t go out except to sit on the sea or hike. We did check clusters of inattentive springtime breakers from the car, and it prompted us to ditch the sea after 12 PM when it started to fill up with a-holes. The minister never officially shut the seas down, but local authorities finally did just as we were leaving. I guess you can always count on some number of people playing like the world isn’t in meltdown because the sun is out, and they have a beer in their pas. We noticed other kinfolks like us, though, keeping safe intervals, smiling in passing but devoting each other a wide berth. Note to self–there will always be people facing the same circumstances and( perhaps) sequels but answering in contrast ways.
Next week we start its second phase, which I am evenly agitated and startled about : strong> employ from dwelling while homeschooling . strong> I will report on this in more detail once it starts, but the general plan is to switch back and forth between labour and homeschooling M for the foreseeable future. We will ricochet him backward and forward like a sea bullet until he’s “released” to for some screen time( and more office period) at 3 PM. These will be long eras for Matt and I, and we know it. We hope to keep M in a number similar to what his Kindergarten class schedule was, but expand the repertoire to include studying themes we all think are cool or are versed in. I expect music, art, and discipline to be reasonably recreation. M likes to paint like Basquiat. Maybe he will frisk some drums while I represent guitar. Perhaps the authorities concerned will hem some medical masks for our neighbourhood infirmary. We should perfectly use this opportunity to teach M how to manufacture his own breakfast or how to cook lunch for everyone. He’s carried an interest in learning about prosthetics and how people build things IRL( as opposed to Minecraft ). He is also available disappointed to discover he can’t have a hot tub full of lava on the roof of a real house, but that’s a different matter.
What I don’t know is how long we can stay organized and impede him interested, or how long-suffering we will be about all the inevitable whining for screen term or requesting to see a friend. Even during programmes about fight, you investigate kids dallying together. How do we explain that he can’t see his friends because it’s nearly impossible they won’t share germs? Six-year-olds don’t know how to play from a 6-foot distance. I don’t know if Matt and I will pull off being patient as much as we need to be, both with M and with one another, and I’m fearful. How this isolation will affect him and us is anyone’s guess, but at least we have the basics: a house to isolate in and one another. Come what may.