Quarantining While Moving With Three Kids

I haven’t blogged in some time. I have been so busy with my job, and then life changes. We found out in August my husband’s company was relocating us to the Charlotte area. We were excited, but also nervous for our kids. We have been living our life this year in anticipation of this move over the summer. We have found a house. And then everything changed. Overnight. We are still moving, but what do the logistics of this look like now? What happens if there’s a shelter-in-place order? Will all the pieces fall together? And what about my kids? How are they going to react.

Last Friday, we received word the kids’ schools would be closed until April 6th to try to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

At first the kids were excited. It’s like an unforeseen vacation! My oldest said, “Yes! No school!”

Fast forward, and even though the boys are still officially on Spring Break, Son Number One said, “I miss school. Wait, isn’t it still Spring Break?”

Son Number One loves his friends. He’s 15. He is also worried that he won’t be able to see them before we move. My heart is breaking for how their world is changing so rapidly. Also, I have no idea how I’m going to teach this kid Algebra 1 if school doesn’t reopen? He will be doing loads of Khan Academy. Being an extrovert during a quarantine is difficult.

Son Number Two so far has loved his iPad. And because we are still on Spring Break, I’m letting them veg and have fun this week. Next week, we will start some kind of school or structure, even if it is only 1-2 hours long. He suggested we play Calvin ball last night. Calvin ball comes from Calvin and Hobbs, where the rules are made up as the game goes along. The kids seemed to love the outdoor time. He is also taking a Pokemon drawing class online. This is a nice diversion.

Darling Daughter has distance learning starting today. She attends a private school, and her school sent home all her books and a packet, along with instructions on what to do every day. She wanted to start it the day we brought it home. She has been keeping in touch with her friends via FaceTime and also through Roblox. She seems pretty unaffected by this so far.

Hubby is working from home starting today. This will be hard with three kids and a wife. The good news is, we are making pretty much all our food. I’m trying to keep to an exercise schedule: walking or running. The dogs are loving having us home! I will keep you all updated through this, and as things change. So far, we have enough supplies and enough toilet paper!

Introspection

I haven’t been writing at all. Truth is, my life is good and work is good and all things seem to be falling in place…except the writing. I always have this guilty feeling about not putting words on paper. I start to write a story, then I give up.

I have a teenage son, and it drives me nuts when he gives up or is not motivated. But, yet, here I am. Failing to write for the umpteenth time in my life. Living the life of the tortured aspiring writer. Can I call myself a writer if I’m not writing?

It’s Christmas time, and we have done everything Christmasy. We have made gingerbread cookies (today), seen Santa, wrapped presents, bought presents, gone to Christmas parties. We’ve given to others (money-wise, present-wise, service-wise, and through my job). Life is good.

Why is it when life is good the words are hard to flow? Today, I felt a little limerence or nostalgia for the past. I went into the garage, and I opened up a cabinet looking for the cookie tins. I thought I’d look in the boxes of my writing, letters from people-from-the-past, all the things from college. But then I thought, when I do that it usually makes me sad. Or maybe sad is not the right word, wistful, maybe? Who knows what word I’m looking for.

I’m a keeper of things, much to my mom and my husband’s chagrin. I have my journals from childhood. They read like this: It’s Wednesday. I played with Meredith. Tonight for dinner we are having grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Oh, and they are all addressed to Jon, because I named my journal after NKOTB Jon. To be 12 again.

Then my high school journals are all about my first boyfriend J and my second boyfriend, also a J. And how I don’t know what to do. And how I’m failing geometry, but too afraid to tell my parents. And about feeling lonely despite being surrounded by people. The life of a teenager.

And in college, there’s this sense of not knowing what to do next. Of being swept up by the moment, and so idealistic, and thinking I can do anything, but HOW? And again, the obsession with a boy, P. I stopped journaling after I met Hubby. Put down the pen and paper and delved into my life. I stopped writing in full for awhile, until my 30s, after kids were born, and I had a mini-breakdown, and things started to get to normal again. Then I realized writing is an outlet. Writing is a source of release of all the stresses, all the anxiety, all the sadness, all the happiness, and all the success rolled from one day into the other and out the ink of the pen (or the keys of the keyboard, as it were).

I look back on my journals and think about how young and naive I was. I think about all the time I wasted being obsessed over people who were no longer interested in me. Such wasted moments when I could have been living in the moment. And why? Who knows. I look at my past, and I know I felt a deep sense to belong. A lot of my life I felt out of place, not in sync with the people around me. Wanting too little or wanting too much. Being in the wrong political group. Being too loud. Or being too silent. Feeling like people around me didn’t have the same big questions I had about life, philosophy, religion. And I know everyone feels this way sometimes. I know as human beings we have this deep need to feel a part of a group, and to be part of something bigger, and I know that’s okay. And finally, at this stage of my life, I’m starting to feel comfortable with me again. Comfortable in my own skin.

And thanks to some friends in a baby group I’ve been part of for 15 years, maybe I now feel like it’s time to start journaling again. Sometimes seeking the deeper inner parts of yourself can be refreshing and not debilitating.

It’s time to pick up the pen again.

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