Isolation | Part 1 of ?

On Monday I told the kids I wanted them to do an assignment. They loudly complained since it is technically their spring break right now but I told them I wanted them to keep a journal which will be a primary source document for future generations as what we are living right now is one of those things that will shape their future and something they will one day share with their grandchildren. After hearing what I wanted them to do, they all actually complied.

I figured it’s probably not a terrible idea to do the same. Someday I’ll still share this with my grandchildren and maybe someday they’ll share it with theirs. I hope decades from now we’ll look back on this knowing we did the best we could and got through it with a sense of hope and understanding and not with the horror of someone recounting say, their experience in war.

I can’t help but thinking over the last few weeks, that I’ve read this book. I spent a lot of time about a decade ago, immersed in post-apocalyptic genre novels. Many of them were for young adults/teens. There was one, one of the more juvenile of the books I read, where a virus kills all the adults on earth leaving the children to fend for themselves. Even though the characters weren’t particularly appealing, it was one of the books that stuck with me and has at times made me more driven to teach my kids survival skills, not in a scary way but in a “hey let’s learn how to cook a meal” kind of way. And here we are now, facing a virus that seems to impact most every age group EXCEPT young children. That book, by the way, is part of the Toucan Trillogy and is called Night of the Purple Moon, you know, just in case you want to read mildly terrifying fiction that now mimics real life.

There was another book I read, again having to do with the moon, where an asteroid hits the moon setting it off its normal gravitational course and closer to the earth. Global chaos ensues as tsunamis take out all the coastal cities, the electrical grid, access to news, access to food, etc. I remember the mother in that book taking her children out of school, giving them each a fistful of cash, and each of them filling a shopping cart to the brim with food as everyone else in the town does the same. And in the beginning they are okay and they eat fairly normally. Then volcanic eruptions block out the sun, winter starts in August, and they cut down practically the entire forest behind their home to keep a wood burning stove going to keep from freezing to death. Last night we got take out and had dessert too and I told the kids, I think we will look back on this as one of the really good meals we had before everything just kinda stops. I hope it won’t come to that. But who knows at this point. That book, is part of a 4 book series called Life As We Knew It. By the way the 4th book sucks and I don’t say that lightly. It made me so angry. If you opt to read this series do yourself a favor and stop after the 3rd book. Ok moving on.

So life is imitating art right now and I think what strikes me the hardest is how normal things were last week. Yesterday was Wednesday and except to go get a prescription filled I didn’t leave the house. Here’s what a normal Wednesday is like for us: 

Everyone up at 6, dressed and ready for school. Leave for school at 6:45 at the latest. Andrew has (had) Model UN team at 7:20 so we had to get to school by then. Drop everyone off and sign them into HOST. Leave for work and hopefully arrive by 7:45. 

A normal work day for me is a class of math followed by a class of religion then break, planning, “Math Lab” which is additional math enrichment where we do life skills math (we were talking about income taxes) and then lunch. I have lunch duty on Wednesday so I sit outside at the picnic tables with the 32 kids in my department. We don’t have a cafeteria at my school so we eat outside. Students have the option of getting food delivered. After lunch I teach my highest level math class and they are doing an Algebra 1 unit on Linear Equations. Right after that class I have my pre-algebra group and then two more religion classes. After work is my weekly PLC. We’ve been having conferences lately. After the PLC is over (and sometimes I have to leave early) I rush across town to the dance studio because I keep Allison’s bag in my car so she doesn’t have to carry it around school all day. Her classes start at 5:30 on Wednesdays. If by chance Andy is back from work early enough he takes Molly to swimming but most of the time we just sit at Barnes and Noble and wait for class to be over. After dance Andy takes the kids home and I go to choir at church. It’s over by 9 and I’m usually home by 9:30 after being gone almost 15 hours. Wednesday is by far my busiest day. It exhausts me. Last Wednesday I did all those things except choir. Yesterday I did none of them. What I wouldn’t give right now to be that busy again, to have all those places I could go and all those people I could see and all those classes I could teach face to face with my students. Knowing it’s only been 4 days and how long it potentially will be before things are back to some sense of normal is what keeps me up at night. I think we are all grieving normal. It’s certainly not that anymore.

What I miss the most is my ability to see my own friends. Over the last 2 years, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during dance classes, I’ve gotten to sit, relax, have coffee and “mom time” with two amazing women who I love dearly. And for the foreseeable future that’s done with. At the time, it didn’t click for me that last week was our last time doing that for a while. It’s clicking for me now that if Barnes and Noble can’t survive the economic crash as many companies won’t, that might be our last time forever. How did the world change so dramatically in just one week?

I am leaving this for now with a note: Be good to each other. As hard as it is, look for the positives. Cleaner air is a HUGE one right now. More family time, slowing down, having the ability to do all the things that we’ve been unable to do for a while, that’s a huge positive too. I will continue to update as the days pass. Love to all.

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