Subtract – add – adjust

Didn’t make it farther than the backyard yesterday. But the sun was shining and it was good to be outside.

Quick recap of yesterday: I baked blueberry muffins. Kids did some art. I interacted with my daughter’s school’s reading group a bit on Google Classroom. I did a ton of editing. I worked late. I had a short, at-a-distance visit with my parents in my yard and watched city workers tape off the playground next to our house. The kids resisted me on any work besides drawing and they were unwilling to help when asked, choosing instead to spend most of their time talking to friends on video chat or text.

How I felt by the end of the day: hopeless, worried, exhausted, like a failure.

What I’m doing today to combat those feelings: drinking lots of water (I think dehydration is having an effect on my brain), focusing on the now (go for a walk, listen to the birds, meditate for 15 minutes), play with my kids (board games, cards).

In being overly concerned about the effect this social isolating is having on my kids and the loss of regular school in their lives, I’ve forgotten that they still have their regular fears and worries (that are of course compounded by this distance from the worlds they would otherwise inhabit).

In a chat with my daughter last night, I realized that what we’re all suffering from without really realizing it is the loss of our own worlds and how our worlds have come crashing together.

I’ve always thought of the four of us as close. We have dinner together every night; we often cook and clean up as a family (assuming we’re all home; sometimes activities take some of us out of the house right after dinner). We have movie nights and game nights. We talk a lot and about everything together. Of course, we each have little things we keep to ourselves, but we’re mostly a very open family.

But in this new reality: all of us in the house all of the time (except my husband who is still working out in the world), it has hit me that we each had our own lives, our own worlds, entirely separate from each other. Yes we started each day together and came back together at the end of each day, but my daughter had her social circle and her routine and her teachers and schedules, and my son had his friends and his teachers and his neighbourhood hangout spots and his soccer team, and I had my friends and coworkers and my office and my work-from-home space (for the odd work-from-home day pre-COVID-19) and my errands and my routine, and my husband had his work and social circle. Now all of that is gone and our worlds have come crashing together. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s a new thing to get used to.

When a tween needed her friends in the pre-COVID-19 world, she had access to them IRL. Now, she only texts and talks on the phone with them. And she is having to adjust to what that communication looks like for her group, how they will manage disagreements, hurt feelings, misinterpretations (because I imagine there’s a lot of that when communicating without the benefit of body language and tone of voice). It’s hard to navigate that as an adult with years of experience. Imagine facing that challenge just as you reach the stage in your life where communication and group dynamics carry so much weight?

And for an athletic boy now cooped up in the house or confined to a backyard with no buddies to play with? These are trying times.

And so today is Friday, the last day of the first week of learn at home/social isolation. I went to sleep last night with yet another adjustment to our schedule/routine in my head. And I woke up this morning nervous and worried about how today will play out. But writing this has been therapeutic and, as I often tell myself, take it day by day, make adjustments for what doesn’t work, add in new possibilities, subtract/add, adjust, be kind to yourself and to others, find balance and don’t think that because things went sideways yesterday that they will always be like that. Today is a new day. And it’s Friday, so relax and have a little fun.

1 thought on “Subtract – add – adjust

  1. Pingback: Experiment updates | Life Takes Over

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