Quinlan had to write a letter Monday for her language arts class, in which she described to an imaginary other student her first month under stay-at-home orders.
“MOM. Mommy. MOM.” Quinn said this as she walked from the dining room, where she’d set up her dad’s old laptop as a work station, to where I was in the family room, writing on my own laptop. “Mom. Mommy? Mom. I need help.”
I love my children. I really, really, like having them around. But sometimes?
Quinlan draped herself over the arm of the couch so that her face was inches from my computer.
“Mom? Mom. In this letter I have to tell the other student what I’ve been doing all month. How do I start it? What do I say? Mom. What’s my first sentence going to be?”
I sighed. This was Quinn’s thirty-seventh request for help in the last hour and a half. I’m usually pretty proud of my patience with the kids, but that patience depends largely on whether my anxiety has taken the morning off (hahaha NOT THESE DAYS) or decided my brain is a mosh pit and she’d like to throw herself into the center of it.
Ms. Anxiety was still on the fence today, so I took a deep breath.
“Quinlan. You’re about to write about all the stuff you’ve done this month at home,” I said. “So take that info and put it all together as your opening line. If I asked you, ‘Hey, Quinlan: your first month at home has been…'” I paused so she could fill in the blank herself.
Her eyes lit up. “FUN.” She planted a kiss on my nose and ran away to type her letter.
She’s having fun. While I’ve been over here slam-dancing with my own stresses and worries and fear this past month, my daughter’s been having fun. And moreover, she’s been having a lot of that fun with me.
A lot of the awful of this pandemic waiting game for many of us is wondering if or when or where the other shoe will drop (considering the sheer number of fools protesting verycloselytogether right now in my backyard –and knowing how positive cases spiked this week after a similar protest in Kentucky–it’s a legitimate concern, you think?). There are so many things to worry about–but it’s up to us, the grownups, to keep it above-level. It’s up to us to be smart about how we, the adults, handle ourselves and protect each other. The children don’t want to learn about dropping shoes. They just want to know we’re here for them (“Mom? Mommy? Mom! Mom?”). They want roasted marshmallows and YouTube videos and to beat us in a game of H.O.R.S.E. because seriously, what else should we have going on?
The worry and stress and anxiety is internal. (That’s for us.) The children just see the external. (What we do is for them.)
They just see the fun.
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