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It’s Monday and for most working parents that means another day of trying to figure out how to do the job of 3 or 4 different people.
It means doing all the zoom calls and responding to all the work emails, while at the same time teaching children about 3 dimensional shapes, when to use ‘a’ versus ‘an’ in front of nouns, guiding them through literature reviews, algebraic equations, creative writing, and maybe some “fun” science experiments to keep the creative juices flowing.
I can not fully express how grateful I am to all the teachers and administrators that have literally created on-line education alternatives in a matter of days…
And also, We. Are. Done.
In between the cute videos and snapshots we need to upload for all these tasks, these two raw and upsetting pictures show just a small fraction of what is really happening inside the homes of many families.
And we are the fortunate ones – we have work that can be done remotely; we have enough bandwidth and devices for all 3 kids plus ourselves. We are not worried about how we will buy food or pay a mortgage… and still, we are breaking in every possible way.
Our communication as a family has regressed to teary shouting matches and guilt ridden apologies.
Our morning snuggle time has devolved into exhausting negotiations to “just finish” the bare necessities of math, reading and writing in exchange for mind numbing tablet time.
The adults in this house walk by each other confused by the simultaneous desire to scream at each other for not pulling enough weight and the desire to just run away together and never look back.
Teachers, administrators, school staff – I can not imagine how your hearts are breaking also. You hugged our kids and said, “see you in two weeks.” You fully believed those words, and you left their pictures hanging on the walls, and you thought about how hard it would be to make up for two lost weeks of work before the school year ended.
Now, you stay up all hours of the night learning how to record Loom lessons and creative on line quizlets. You scour YouTube for videos that can maybe, possibly explain the difference between a trapezoid and a parallelogram.
I can only imagine that you. too. are. done.
I can only imagine that you too cry yourself to sleep worrying about our children.
Can we perhaps all agree that the facade is gone?
Parents are not teachers, and teachers are not technology experts.
Children don’t need to know the difference between a cone and a cylinder today.
They need to know they are safe.
They need to know they are loved.
They need to know Mommy is not angry at them for refusing to do their school work….she’s exhausted, and frustrated, and maybe she’s scared of what’s next.
May is mental health awareness month.
That reminder made me stop cold today.
I stopped as I was yelling and crying and about to collapse on the couch today.
I believe so many incredible lessons will come from this time.
I believe people will rediscover parts of their lives they had forgotten and reconnect with people they’ve left behind or lost.
I believe priorities will shift, both individually and collectively.
I believe in the power of uncertainty to transform lives.
I also believe these transformations and shifts in perspective take time and distance.
Since March 14th, we’ve all been going at Mach speed. We’ve pivoted, and we’ve pushed and pulled on every lever we can find. We have not stopped for even one moment. To stop requires grace and compassion. To stop requires an admission that we don’t have the answers and we don’t know what’s next.
I believe what we all need most at this moment, a full two months after the “two week” shut down began, is a collective pause.
We will make it through this. We will adapt and evolve and glean what’s good- even great- from this time. I truly believe that we will, after some time and space occurs between the shut down and whatever’s next.
But most of all, today, I believe We. Are. All. Done.