The Screen-Free Quarantine – Day 12 and 13
It’s Saturday! No homeschool today!
Mike woke up today with a sore throat. He did have to work (at work) around 8 days ago. He doesn’t have a fever, so we’re pretty sure it’s not the virus, but to be safe, we decided to call Kasie’s father who had planned to pick her up today. We asked him to wait 48 hours to see if Mike gets a fever.
As a result, Mike and I are both a little grumpy, and it’s hard not to be short with each other at a time like this. The kids are bored. Energetic. They need to be taken outside and drained of their energy. But Mike and I are drained of our energy.
In Mike’s work, he has direct contact with wonderful people from the Sherriff’s Department. His contacts have confirmed that the number of domestic violence cases has increased, at least locally, although I can imagine this is a trend that is present nationwide. Mike and I love each other and are happy to exist in a healthy relationship with each other. But, having been in an abusive relationship in the past, I can only imagine what time, exposure, opportunity, boredom, and stress can do to already fragile relationships.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this situation, and how rare it is for us all as a nation to basically be in “lockdown” together. I realized this morning though, that how Mike and I respond to these challenges will be planting seeds in our children for the rest of their lives. Only we can decide if they are good seeds or bad seeds. Thankfully, God has been blessing us with wisdom and much grace during this time, and we are planting mostly good seeds (I hope). I am praying the fruits of the spirit over us, and studying Proverbs 31, thanks to a new book just out by my friend Lauren Crews, called The Strength of a Woman. It really speaks to me and encourages me during this time. I am thankful to be reading it and meditating on it every day.
I truly believe that right now, Mike and I have a choice. We can simply survive. Just get through this thing…which is perfectly reasonable. And probably sane. Or we can take this time together in our home with our kids to take our lives up a notch. Spend time developing our relationships with each other. With God. Allow God to develop our character. Learn to be strong, patient, and kind to one another in a time when it is easy to lose patience and be selfish.
We have an opportunity now to be with our kids every waking hour of the day. When previously, they were with teachers and other students for a large percentage of their time. They were being influenced greatly by the outside world. Right now we have weeks or even months to influence them in a way that we see as a great opportunity. I can’t think of another time that I will have access to my kids all day, every day, with no distractions.
How we CHOOSE to live these days, weeks or months can greatly affect our children. A day or a week can drastically change the trajectory of a 10 or 11-year-old. Mike is seeing it in his job as a juvenile probation officer. Kids without parental supervision and without the distraction and routine of school, are literally going wild.
We can choose to survive, or we can choose to ascend…above our circumstances, into something better.
We choose better.
Mike’s sore throat is better this morning, but last night, before bed, he said he had a tightness in his chest, near his sternum. I hadn’t heard him cough and he didn’t have a fever. This morning, he says his throat is fine and he feels fine, but I did just hear him cough.
“Oh,” He says. “I guess I did.”
I don’t know what to do about our daughter. She desperately wants to see her father. She understands why we are holding off. She keeps asking if Mike has a fever. I would never forgive myself if we sent her to him, and he got sick because of it. Kasie would blame herself, I would blame myself, and he would be sick. It’s hard though because I feel like a bad person for withholding and adult woman from seeing her adult father when they both would like to be together. Not sure what to do here but be honest with him and her and hope for the best. Ultimately, I guess it is their choice, not mine. But I can’t help but have a strong opinion that I don’t want anything bad to happen to her father.
This is another thing I’ve been thinking about. One thing that this disaster-pandemic has shown me is that at least in THIS country, we have lost the ability to think about the greater good. Why is it necessary for lawmakers to create orders that keep people in their homes? Why do we need lists of essential businesses? In this day and age, when we should be smarter and more logical than any other generation, with more access to up to the second information, why can’t we understand that there is a need for the general public to come together to PROTECT the weaker and more fragile in our society? Why can’t we just make an assessment that 40 or 400 or 4000 people dead is too much WHEN IT CAN BE CONTROLLED by simple personal choices? Yes, I get that the flu kills many people. Car accidents kill more people. Lung cancer and vaping kill people. People kill people. But what I know about this virus is that IF I STAY HOME RIGHT NOW, and inconvenience myself just a bit, I can prevent infecting myself, my children, my children’s teachers, my children’s fathers, my fellow church members, the ladies checking me out at the grocery store, the librarian, my coworkers, my hairdresser and countless other people that I could infect or who could infect me.
Why as Americans aren’t we operating as true Americans, pulling together as a community, as a country, as a team and doing what’s best for one another. I get that there is a question about accurate data and information. I don’t really know how bad things are, or how bad they are going to get. But I personally know some nurses who are afraid. Who are stressed out and working extra shifts and extra hours NOW, so why can’t we as a community, stay home to support them? And my kid’s teacher. My gosh I love Daniel’s teacher. I’m not going to guess how old she is, but let’s just say, she’s an EXPERIENCED educator. Her years of experience are PRICELESS to me. She sees through my son’s manipulations before he even finishes calculating, unlike brand new, sweet, youthful teachers who haven’t had the “pleasure” of meeting a kid who is this extra. Why can’t we band together and PROTECT her without an order from the governor? Why this resistance and reluctance to do what is right?
We shouldn’t need a lawmaker or elected official to tell us to stick close to home these days. Let the people who need to be out, go out. Give them space to do so. We should be supporting those who have lost their jobs as a community. We don’t need checks from the government. We need to help each other. This is what Americans do. This is how we should be.
I personally believe that this is what we should learn from this. One of the many things, I believe. We are not a community of individuals, who don’t need one another. We need each other. And we need to love each other. We are commanded to. And when we operate as we were commanded to, loving our neighbor as ourselves (my toilet paper is your toilet paper), we can create change that will amaze us.
Okay, off of my soapbox. For now. Kids will be up soon. Then my outlook changes greatly.
I lied about the soapbox. Mike has a video call with his friends in Kenya and India on Sundays. I’m up listening to his call, and they are talking about the pandemic. They are on a government-ordered lockdown in these countries. Mike’s friend in India mentioned that it is very bad for children to be learning on computers. Mike started laughing because, in India, where we imagine they are behind us as a society in many ways, they are AHEAD of us in recognizing that their children, who are out of school due to this pandemic, should not be doing their learning on the computer.
My son’s teacher called us yesterday to let us know to contact her if he has any questions about the online learning that begins this coming week. I emailed her to let her know that our internet will not allow us to get both boys (plus their sister) on the internet to learn. This is true. Our internet is much slower these days, which is what Mike’s friends in other countries are experiencing as well. Internet traffic jam is what they are calling it. Everyone is online. Communicating. Consuming media. Reaching out to friends and family. Getting information. But my kids won’t be. Them being online will knock Mike off of the internet for work, or Kasie off of the internet for her college courses. Those, at least right now, take priority. I can teach the boys on my own, with books and pencil and paper. Hopefully, the school will understand. I guess if they don’t, I will deal with it later.
I feel like a 2020 version of Daniel and his friends in the king’s court. Test us, and see if we are not stronger, better and smarter than those who eat the king’s food. Test my kids when this is over. I’m willing to bet that they will at least know the same information as their peers, if not more. Regardless of how certain I am that what I’m doing is good for them, I’m frequently filled with doubts about my own abilities. Their teachers are trained professionals, and I’m a mom who barely graduated from college and has very little patience. I also stink at grammar.
Mike took the boys out in the “backyard” while I worked on their lessons for next week. I was able to get Monday-Wednesday planned for both of them while Mike and Daniel took the weed trimmer to the underbrush in the woods. We have a few acres of woods, and then several acres of vacant woods surround ours. So, the boys cut trails into the dense brush so that they could ride their mountain bikes through there when they’re bored. Tonight after dinner, we all took a walk as a family to admire the boys (and God’s) handiwork. It was lovely. They did a great job.
Mike says he is feeling fine and he doesn’t have a fever, but I’ve noticed him coughing a few times today. It could just be a cold or the terrible smell of adolescent boy lingering heavy in our home, but I’m watching him. I made him a batch of firewater today (ginger and turmeric tea) and am hoping he gets a good night’s sleep tonight.
That’s it for my weekend. It went by way too fast. Tomorrow starts week #2 of homeschooling, but not really homeschooling. Let’s call it, Coronaschooling.