Shattered

Since Coronavirus hit the US, I have been in limbo. A constant busy. Working two jobs. Two jobs that literally change every couple of hours each day as new info comes down the healthcare pipeline. We have been moving in, unpacking, decorating. I’m so thankful for the downtime with my crowd, but at the same time have an underlying fear and anxiety of the virus. I don’t watch much tv, and don’t say much regarding it at home other than wash your hands. I’ve just been keeping normal at the best way I know how.

On top of that, we now have kids home schooling. I’ve homeschooled before, it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m a nurse, with one cell of patience in my personality. This time it’s better, the lessons have been so graciously handed to my kids on a silver platter by their amazing educators who are going above and beyond their call of duty at this time as well. Who have reached out to me all hours of the day and night.

I would say we have just kind of been in survival mode for the last few weeks. I picked up my kids packets the week before we moved in, one kid was staying with my mom, one with Matthew’s mom and one in daycare all day because we are working. We didn’t do much more than glance at those packets. Fast forward a week, we loaded up our house into a big car trailer and began moving in our new home. Our new home that is still fairly upside down. We literally found our packets last week. I instructed the big girls that their work was on canvas. I did a piddly attempt at downloading some apps onto an app for the elementary schooler and sat her at the bar for an hour in front of it, for two days. I asked the girls every day if they did their work when I got home from work, and they said some… I finally reached out to everyone’s teachers Monday. I checked in, tried to get a sense of what we were supposed to be doing and discovered my self learners hadn’t been doing much learning. I fussed, they cried, and they headed back upstairs to buckle down. Three seconds later I heard a panicked “MOMMA” calling me, followed by fast footsteps. Tatum had stomped up the steps angry, tripped over something in her room sending her touch screen school issued laptop smashing into her 100 year old iron bed frame. I looked at it and said well that’s what happens when you are angry, and asked if it still worked, it did, so I sent her back upstairs to work. I was in a room putting together furniture with Kinnley who I think was expecting me to blow, so she was silent, although I could see her watching me (probably thinking I would have killed her if she did that). I called the school, who sent me to IT, who will be replacing the screen today. I’m usually a yeller, so I think because I was not screaming the girls were all scared to talk lol. I didn’t really know why I wasn’t ready to kill her, I just wasn’t, so I kept on working.

An hour later Tatum came downstairs. She looked defeated and tired. All the girls were in the room with me. I said what’s wrong? And she said “Mom, I’m tired, this is not how I want to do school”. That’s all she had to say. I immediately knew why God didn’t let me get angry earlier. Kinnley is finishing her last semester of classes, next semester she has an internship and then she graduates. She has written four 8+ papers this week. That’s not how her last semester of classes should go. She should be sitting in front of her favorite instructor asking questions and engaging in dialogue. Tatum made the JV soccer team and has enjoyed her time at NGA so much, making friends and bonding with her teachers. She should be in school, making tik toks with friends and practicing soccer so she can get better to get more playing time, she should be sitting the bench cheering on her friends with her wonderful “team” attitude. She should be pulling her softball gear out and be practicing for rec ball with all her Ellerbe friends. Parker should be finishing her AIG testing, playing soccer for her very favorite teacher Mr Anderson, loving on all of her friends, and hugging everyone she sees because she loves to love on people. Dillon should be able to scream “I want MeMe” and get her. While this mom has been in “nurse” mode, thinking of the what if’s, bossing all my friends and family around about the importance of social distancing, the world my kids know has been shattered.

I’ve never been known for my sympathy skills when it comes to family. I’m an incredible nurse, and I love my patients and their families, and I give them everything I have. In my real life I’m terrible about that, I don’t know if I use all my reserve for work, but my patience is lacking and so is my sympathy when it comes to people close to me. I’m a suck it up buttercup kinda gal. In my defense, I think that comes from what I do, my jobs are assisting medically fragile children to remain in their homes with their families and taking care of hospice patients. Both of these populations deal with incredibly hard day to day lives and I think that makes me have difficulty sympathizing when day to day bothers/worries/stresses wreck people. I’m a glass half full kinda girl, so when I see people with glasses half empty I have no tolerance. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s bad, the good news is, at least as my friend or family member you always know where I stand lol!

When I saw Tatum’s face yesterday, I knew I had missed something big in my house. I missed their fear, their misunderstanding. Their everyday is different. They haven’t been out of our home in three weeks. I don’t cook, I hate cooking, but I have cooked almost every night. They haven’t sat at the bar at Ellerbe Springs or laughed loudly at the table at Taco Loko. They haven’t walked in Food King or Dollar General and talked to everyone we knew on every isle. They haven’t been to the ball field. Their friends haven’t been over and they haven’t been to their homes. Most importantly they haven’t seen or touched their youth group, that giant group of boys and girls they love with their entire hearts, in a month. All of this happened with no warning, no preparation. Nothing. And that, is DETRIMENTAL to young people. I’ve studied life stages, developmental stages of life. They aren’t ready for this, they are not equipped to deal. They aren’t okay.

So, with that being said. I will be changing my schedule. I will be sitting at the table and doing school work with them. I will teach them how to write actual letters and cards and how to use the USPS to contact people you can’t see. I will be having more conversations to describe what’s going on in our world with them. I will do my very very best to help them comprehend. I will do it without screaming or dismissing them. And we will make good memories, that one day they can share with their kids and grandkids.

Y’all, we are all just doing our best here. From the President and his staff, to the state and his staff, to the local government and their staff. The healthcare workers, the lawmakers, the school staff, the grocery store workers, the mailman. We are all living in a world we have never seen. We are dealing with something we have never dealt with. That’s stressful, and it’s scary. I have been so fortunate to meet on a Zoom meeting twice a week with my Sunday school/small group folks, and we have discussed a few times how we can’t imagine dealing with all of this without knowing that there is God, behind the scenes, knowing every step, every obstacle and every outcome. This Easter week and every other week that follows, that’s Who we will be focusing on, the One who holds us all in His hands. Who gives us an eternal assurance, that will overcome anything this world has to throw at us. It’s okay if you are shattered too, cut yourself some slack, and just breathe.

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