These days I’m never sure whether I’m moving forward, backward, or sideways… which made January’s palindrome days sadly validating:
February gets me as well: Groundhog day is the perfect way to acknowledge pandemic weeks that blur together in an endless loop.
In our house, mornings always start with the miserable task of waking our teenagers. It’s shockingly difficult. Apparently the only thing teens hate more than going to bed is getting out of bed.
Yes, they have alarm clocks.
Yes, getting oneself out of bed is a life skill.
Yes, I should probably let them fail once or twice.
I just can’t do it! I’m mortified that they often roll out of bed five minutes before logging into their Zoom classes. Their teachers are my colleagues, and it kills me that my own kids are showing up to class with bedhead and unbrushed teeth!
The next 8 hours can be summed up in two words: screen time. Crazy, unhealthy, cross-eyed amounts of Zoom, Google Docs, Canvas, Blackboard, PearDeck, Kami, Quiziz, Desmos, DeltaMath, Repl, BrainPop, and YouTube.
But wait! There’s more!
Throw in a dash of Discord and a nip of Netflix. And don’t even get me going on the devil that is TikTok. I’m back to working on campus most days, so the kids are home solo and expected to manage these distractions without the presence of a nagging parent. Talk about unrealistic expectations!
Their teachers are flipping cartwheels to keep content engaging and spending hours creating online curriculum. Here’s what school looks like on the receiving end:
Screens, screens, screens. The kids are learning and I do believe this is safest for public health, but we can’t wait to return to a brick and mortar classroom with real human interaction!
At least we still eat dinner as a family most evenings. In a previous life I meal planned a week in advance, but these days I start rummaging through the freezer for protein and inspiration around 5:00 each afternoon. It’s hit and miss. Afterwards the dishwasher gets loaded, but we usually let the pots and pans linger overnight because… who has the energy? Besides, half the time the dishtowel drawer is empty. I’m chronically and woefully behind on laundry.
After dinner the kids always have copious amount of homework, so back to the screens they go. I swap out my work laptop for my personal one and tackle some projects, so back to the screen I go as well. Clark is the best about unplugging, and has started listening to audio books while putting together puzzles. In the past month he’s completed four puzzles and three audio books!
(He’s grumpy that I’m taking this photo, but most definitely enjoying his 1000-piece Camaro puzzle while listening to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.)
Sometimes we squeeze in a little family time with Yahtzee, Scattergories, or Rummikub. More often the night ends with Sam still “doing homework” while Maggie and I watch a TV show. Yep: more screens! (Sidenote: We are a bit bipolar in our selections, from Bewitched to Little House to Criminal Minds.)
There are a few random distractions to our Groundhog days: Sam drives himself to and from his job at Carrs Safeway a few times a week, and Maggie has a job at a local ranch helping with animal chores and horse camps. She also rides two days per week.
Small groups of students have returned to school, and I recently welcomed a class in the library for the first time in almost a year. My date due stamp was a time capsule, stuck on March 16, 2020:
Sam and Maggie will have the option to return to in-person school in March, after a full year of online coursework. I’m still not sure what they will decide. Sam wants to go back, but most of his friends are not. He’s also worried about the very real possibility that he will end up in constant quarantines that will block him from attending soccer activities. Maggie already endured those quarantines during volleyball season, but she can’t wait to walk the halls of high school for the first time.
Both our kids are social beasts who miss their friends fiercely.
What hasn’t changed for them: homework, chores, and nagging parents. (Nagging?!? Honestly I have no idea what they are talking about.)
What has changed: school, dances, sports, hanging out with friends, going to restaurants and movies, travel, and pretty much anything else they deem as fun.
Are we living our best life right now?
But we are living! Perhaps we could and should do better. Or maybe we get a free pass due to the whole global pandemic thing? Only time will tell.
For now, curling up under a blanket with a movie sounds like a dream. And whaddaya know… Groundhog Day is available on Amazon Prime!