Tomorrow will end the boys’ fourth week without stepping foot inside their schools. They came home on Friday, March 13 with their trombones in tow. We expected three weeks. We still didn’t have a full understanding of what we were up against at that time.
They may or may not return after the current stay-at-home date of May 1. Today, Pennsylvania closed schools to in-person instruction for the rest of the school year. Logically, I know the same is likely to happen in Ohio.
Emotionally, I’m not ready to let go of the hope.
The past month has delivered the hardest days of work-life balance that I have ever experienced. I knew it would be hard. I had no clue.
To be fair, work-life balance is a misnomer in general. At best, it’s a lie. I mean, if Martha Stewart can’t achieve work-life balance, can anyone? Some days work gets more time. Some days family requires more attention. And right now, when the two are requiring the same amount of presence and productivity at the same exact time, something’s gotta give.
There’s no give and take here. There’s nothing left to give.
Factor in elder care and self-care, storms waking me up at all hours, and anxiety that won’t let me go back to sleep, and I’m at the end of my ability to function. This is an exhaustion I’ve never known.
We started a family journal this week in hopes of remembering odds and ends of this pandemic. So far, other than the fact that they mentioned that their “mom made them do this,” they don’t seem overtly negatively effected by my inability to be all and do all. They definitely have feelings about missing out on their school year. They miss school. They miss their friends. They’re missing the many great things planned between March and May.
But they don’t hate me. Just yet.
Parker is probably more attuned to the fact that my stress level is off the charts. He’ll wander in my office after a meeting, ask how it went, and ask if I need a hug.
The answer is always yes, even if the meeting went just fine. I never turn down a hug from my boys. Those hugs are currently salve to my soul.
Nick knows I’m stressed but delivers his care in the form of humor. Their individual personalities are shining right now as they each struggle with different things and find joy in separate ones as well. I’m thankful for the ways they make me look at things a bit differently than I would have otherwise. Learning how they feel through our family journal gives me more insight into this pandemic.
Our lives have been changed in the past month and will forever be marked by COVID-19. There are changes we have yet to experience, some good and some pretty awful. I do know that we’ll continue to work through it together.
I’m going to keep clinging to hope, not necessarily that things will return to the way they were before but that we might come through this experience with a broader understanding of who we are as individuals, as a family, and as members of society. There are so many lessons to learn right now. I just hope we learn the right ones.