Day One 3/17/20- Today was our first official day of isolation. It also was the first day of distance learning for the kids and Aaron and I working from home.
We prepared last week by getting enough groceries, for what we hope is, 3 to 4 weeks. We have had many conversations as a family about what it will be like to be in isolation, as if we know! There was a lot of frustration and tears shed as we talked about the future events that we would no longer be attending or taking part in, such as our spring break trip to the Ark Encounter and The Creation Museum and my sisters baby shower. Turns out she had her baby early so that situation worked out.
I started my day out with my alarm going off at four as usual however this time it was a little harder to get out of bed for my work out since I wouldn’t be going to the gym. Yesterday I grabbed a bunch of dumbbells from my school weight room since they were just going to be sitting there and decided to bring them home so I could work out from home, there was no way I would be forgoing my workouts for 4 to 6 weeks, I can’t take care of others if I don’t take care of myself right?! Turns out it’s not as easy to get out of bed to work out at home so my 4 AM turn to 5:15.
After I struggled to get through my workout, I spent some time with the Lord (I call this my God time, I read, pray and journal) today I decided to start reading the book of Job. I know it seems like an odd book to choose especially in a time like this, but it was a very intentional decision. I wanted to keep my perspective straight and remember to focus on my blessings and not the chaos around me. You see Job had a lot of horrible things going on around him and to him and he continued to worship and to praise the Lord (most of the time). Although there is death and sickness all around me, I am truly blessed and have no reason to complain. So, I will continue to read Job so that I will continue to have a heart of gratefulness.
Moving on… After my God time and coffee I decided I needed to get organized for the day. After all I had three kids distance learning to prepare and I wanted to make them a nice breakfast and on top of that I needed to post my own e-learning for the guidance dept by 9:00 AM. I made some clean blueberry muffins and eggs and stacked up all their books, printed off their teachers’ emails and set up three cute little tables with all of their papers organized and ready for them on clipboards. I even made a very detailed schedule hour by hour making sure to include every subject and an included one hour of outdoor time and one hour of alone time for everyone! As a bonus, feeling like super mom, I included an hour for art from YouTube from Mo Willems. The nice man offered to do lunchtime doodles with Mo for free and as a second bonus I scheduled for the kids to watch the wholesome show The Waltons, with their grandma from 12 to 1 while eating lunch.
Our schedule was packed from 9 AM to 3. My intention was to get them started by nine but by the time the kids came downstairs it was almost 830. I had them eat their breakfast and watch a show, mainly to get that desire out of their system. At this point I remembered that I was supposed to have my e-learning done by 9 AM, needless to say, that wasn’t happening. As I started to type quickly for my e-learning I was trying quickly to get them started on their distance learning and of course it was not going smoothly. It was closer to 10 by time they got started.
First day and I already had us off schedule! As the day went on there were so many things I learned, such as a fourth grader needs more than 30 minutes to learn a math lesson and complete the 30 question assignment, one person cannot help three kids at the same time while answering work e-mails and other requests, kids don’t like to sit and watch the president address the nation, and who knew Doodles with Mo would turn my middle child into a psycho child? I did call on the troop (Aaron) to assist me so that we could be miserable together!
Let me spend a moment here, so the doodle on you tube was about a 25 minute video. It took my kids over an hour and half! Here is why. My middle child, Alaina, was so frantic about making sure every…little…line she drew was PERFECT that we had to pause the video constantly for her to draw and erase, draw and scream, erase and scream and cry. She was so frustrated that her picture was not perfect. I didn’t even know what to think! Aaron and I just looked at each other in amazement. It was quite hysterical looking back. We made it through and they all three did the drawing.
After that, alone time was way overdue! We all scattered to our own hiding places. Well Parker played a video game, Aaron slept avoiding life, Addie escaped to her room and Alaina escaped into the fantasy of her tablet games. I chose to sit on the front porch soaking up sunshine while I sipped my coffee. It was almost 50 degrees! This was hands down the best part of our day. The silence was welcome after all the tears, whines and yells during distance learning the previous 5 hours.
In the evening we sat at the dinner table for dinner as usual and talked about our day. It felt like it had been way more than just one day. I think we all agreed the alone time was something that must stay in our schedule. We talked, again, about being a team in this and working together to get through this. Addie was especially struggling with the idea of not returning to school for quite a while. It is her escape. Alaina enjoys being able to get her work done quicker and Parker will be okay as long as we sit on him, give him several breaks to run in circles around the house and feed him often.
After putting the kids to bed I didn’t even have enough energy to sit with Aaron to debrief or watch a show or do anything. I went to bed and reflected in my mind about how grateful I am to be home. Even though my plans did not go the way I wanted them to and probably won’t moving forward, I can be grateful that I have my entire family with me. I don’t have to find someone to watch my kids while I go to work or have a job that forces me to be out and at risk for bringing this disease home to my family. Lord knows I need a moment to slow down and realize what really is important in my life.
One last thought for day one and my challenge to you. No one alive in this country has lived through a situation like we are living through. This is history in the making and how we handle this as a country, as individual states, as cities, as towns and in our homes and personally will forever change the future! How do I want this younger generation to remember this pandemic? What do I want my kids to learn from this and take with them into the future? These are questions I am asking myself as my husband and I have conversations with the kids daily, as we make decisions together for our family and as we look at using our time intentionally. How are you responding? What do you want out of this?