Oh, hello! Welcome to the fifty-sixth day of Maybruary! It has been seven weeks since we’ve been in quarantine and I now completely understand how solitary confinement can turn even the most hardened criminals into sniveling babies.
Ever committed to lifelong learning, I’ve been mindful to note the lessons resulting from our global time-out. Most glaringly is the lesson that shelling out hundreds of dollars to highlight my hair is no longer necessary. The copious amounts of grey are a free substitute for my expensive blonde. Winning!
Other super important life lessons that have been doled out over the past seven weeks?
- Laundry piles up no matter what. And I avoid it no matter what.
- My family can use all our forks in 24-hours.
- There is never enough milk.
- We celebrated our newly minted six-year-old’s birthday in April and learned novelty can make anything fun.
- My three children all have very different learning needs. Watching them adapt to distance learning has been eye-opening.
- When not maintained by his barber, #HusbandWTF’s eyebrows rival Grandpa Munster’s. Who knew?!
- My mother will continue to believe the Internet is the devil while also demanding I look up information and order things for her.
- Pediatricians are wrong: screens are, in fact, very good babysitters.
- Music and dogs are the truest forms of therapy.
- Everyone I live with clearly failed Dishwasher Loading 101. Blessings upon them.
- It is somehow mathematically possible to watch 80 hours of Hulu in 48-hours.
- I have developed a tic that causes me to burst into song over things I consider small victories, like the perfectly ripe avocado.
- I will need to be re-socialized before this is all over.
- Throughout the pandemic, I’ve recognized all the ways my family is fortunate: we have enough of everything, we have our health, we have stability. The fact that one of my biggest worries has been weight gain? Privilege.
- The greatest gift is still making my kids laugh those sweet belly laughs.
- All those times I thought, “I hate my life today,” I wasn’t really hating my life; I was hating the obligations of our time. We will make some changes post-quarantine.
- White men with weapons can protest and get the president’s approval, yet Black men with knees and women with funny hats are the problem…
- Day drinking isn’t as fun without your pals.
- Kids are exceptionally resilient. Also, annoying.
- Animal shelters better not be filling back up any time soon. All ya’ll who decided it’s the right time for a pet better be in it to win it. OR ELSE. Ahem.
- I really miss my chiropractor.
- Keeping our beach vacation on the calendar is one of three threads I’m hanging onto right now. The other two are daily walks and carbohydrates.
- I never want to hear the words essential, social distancing, what’s for dinner, flattening the curve, or the liquor stores are closed ever again.
- I’d like a refund from Nutrisystem.
- Trying to compose a professional email for work while surrounded by three distance learners each (loudly) requiring my assistance is a form of torture.
- Seven weeks and one day is officially the amount of time I can spend in quarantine before experiencing the kind of mental break that prompts neighbors to text, “Everything okay over there?”
In the interest of solidarity, let’s talk about that last point.
I’ve really been trying my best to make lemonade over here, but this weekend, I lost it.
The events contributing to my psychotic break can be summarized as: an accidental injury I sustained as direct result of a child defying me; the constant bickering and head noise; and the fact that I’ve had virtually no time to “reset.”
Long story short, the child who hurt me then hurt a sibling and the sounds of (more) wailing broke me. I was standing on our back deck (AKA: a stage from which to project my psychotic soliloquy to the minions below) when The Voice came out. The Voice we sane folks typically try to hide from the neighbors; The Voice that, once out, you don’t even recognize as your own. The Voice that sends kids running. In a fitting contrast to my volatile outburst, it just happened to be a beautiful day so most of our neighbors were outside to witness my tirade, which was lovely for my pride.
My head was throbbing from that aforementioned boo-boo, and upon realizing I’d scared the bejeezus out of the children and likely humiliated #HusbandWTF, I decided I needed to leave. Except that’s not really accurate because I truly didn’t decide anything. My brain stopped thinking and my body just started acting. It was fight or flight, and since it’s frowned upon to throw down with minors, I chose flight. I hurled the ice pack I’d been holding to my skull (because that’s mature), then ran through the house like a lunatic grabbing at my cell, keys, purse. Without a word, I slammed the car door and was gone.
I had no idea where I was going and because it had been a minute since I’d driven anywhere, I almost forgot how to use the car. I gave myself whiplash braking at a stop sign, but once out of our neighborhood, I immediately felt better. Windows down, angry Eminem music up, I could breathe. A hilarious contrast struck me and had I not been plotting my forever escape, I would’ve giggled: there I was, mad as hell behind the wheel, yet driving at a respectable speed, because mothers.
I detoured through a small town I’d spent a lot of time in as a child and was overcome with a strange sense of comfort mixed with the sting of nostalgia. Remember when life was so easy you could just walk to your friend’s house for a sleepover? When skipping stones across the river or taking the walking bridge to the next town over filled an entire afternoon? And when your biggest responsibility was just being home by curfew?
Minutes later, I pulled into my parent’s driveway with 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” blaring. Sometimes you just need a hug of the familiar. And your dad’s signature eye roll at your music choice.
When I returned home (yes, I returned), we ended our day with a round-table apology. I said I was sorry for leaving, but explained that sometimes, you have to walk away. I asked my kids if they could start “walking away” instead of fighting, whining, tattling, hitting. They said they would try and I guess sometimes that’s all you can do.
They then took turns apologizing to each other for the unending asshattery they inflicted on one another all day. You get an apology! You get an apology! Everyone gets…actually, no. #HusbandWTF did not apologize for anything. Rightfully so, since he was the glue that held our circus together. However, I foresee apologies in his future, specifically for excessive golfing and the attempt to schedule a tee-time on Mother’s Day next week.
Lesson #236 I’ve learned while in quarantine: I’m taking up golf.