Last weekend, per all of the very best how to survive in social isolation advice, I made a schedule. It is Wednesday and we had our first adjustment to the schedule because everyone was late to school even if I didn’t enforce the get dressed/eat breakfast/brush your teeth rules for starting the day.
Reader, school was scheduled to start at 10 am. We all missed even that low bar. I made a bell ring noise with my mouth at 11 am. Then I did a tardy bell. It is 11:20 and I think everyone is doing something they should be. I hope at least. I am sure it will be fine. (Actually I am not sure, I can’t tell if anything will be fine. What is fine? We will be here. That much I know.)
My schedule said that recess was for after lunch, I have kicked my kids out of the house to go play in the yard before the allotted time 100 percent of the days of the homeschool year so far. I am not sorry. This morning my little one walked the dog and then came home and told us all the bad things the dog did while the dog pretended to be sorry but was wagging her tail. I am sad we didn’t get it on video but it will live in my heart for a long time.
I keep seeing memes about how Shakespeare and Newton and all of these white men we know did amazing things while quarantined. I have yet to point out that their wives were doing all the work at home and caring for the kids and feeding everyone but it is coming. If someone wants to come to my house and do all of that work while I write a theological treatise that will change Jesus-loving as we know it I would love that, but until Mary Poppins shows up how bout we give everybody a freaking break.
You don’t have to be good at living in a pandemic, at least not everyday. You can have horrible days where everyone goes to their room to be on their screens and you chuck lunch in there cause you are all done seeing each other. You can have a unit on the historical significance of Friends the television show. (Education Hack, watching tv is not educational but “critical viewing” is in most state standards. You are welcome.) This unit will only be complete if you watch the whole thing. I don’t make the rules.
Okay. I do make the rules, and SO DO YOU! You make all the rules that don’t violate the recommendations of the WHO and the CDC. As I am telling my kids and myself, we don’t have to like it, we just have to do it. So make the rules with tons of grace and kindness to yourself and anyone you are stuck in the house with. Some of us are going to be good at parts of this and some of us are going to be good at other parts, and some of us have to be reminded constantly that social distancing is the opposite of social gathering because gathering people together and stress feeding them is how you deal with hard things. I am trying.
Maybe this great pause isn’t an opportunity to be productive, but rather an opportunity to ask ourselves why we think our self worth is tied to production. Maybe we finally learn how to be with ourselves. Maybe each of us learning to be a little kinder to our own selves and each other, to be a little more patient, to be a little more generous would change the world way more than one person being hyper productive. This work is hard. It is painful, and it is going to take time and right now we have that. Maybe we practice our humanity and our religion in the true sense of the word. We just keep keeping on the best we can and don’t give up, like practicing an instrument or a dance or a skill.
And maybe somedays are pajama days. Maybe somedays are cry and yell and then apologize and try again days. We don’t have to be good at this. I am not even sure we have to try to be good at this everyday. Take a lot of naps. Do nothing. Brag about that. No one is good at this, we are all just practicing.