The Kids Are Alright. It's the Parents We Should Worry About.

This morning humor escapes me. It may be that I haven't gotten far enough into the coffee yet, but you know.... as my friend said, "This (*#$#$& is getting real now." I do frequently think of those who are quarantined in isolation, who have lost their jobs and face dwindling or empty bank accounts, and the folks like my sister and brother in assisted living facilities who don't quite understand what's going on and just want to get the hell out. I think and shrug, and wonder what to do. I would kill for a drive-through coffee.
Sh#$ happens when you're born to rock and roll parents.
Apologies to the Irish among us for the flag... I mean... it's the Who.
But the kids are alright.

Bear with me here. I don't mean for this blog to be online journaling, but rather it is a reach for the universal in the everyday. I like to admit the things we all may feel but no one will say aloud, so that you'll realize someone is crazier than you. Or just as crazy, conflicted, and imperfect as you. 

So. Me, amid the anxiety of the unknown and the concern for the less fortunate, I'm surprisingly content in this new isolation, as I've been running too fast for too long and have embraced this opportunity to learn what it feels like to drive (around the house) with my left foot on the brake pedal. All the Facebook posts from happy introverts suggest that I might be an introvert after all, but the actual introverts among us are sometimes the ones having a harder time with the isolation. Sunshine and darkness need each other to find their names.

If I've learned nothing so far, it's that I actually am as impatient a mother as I thought I was before, and it has absolutely nothing—or perhaps very little—to do with circumstances. I always thought I'd be nicer if I was less busy.  Most of us these days have busy lifestyles, and modern child rearing for many is not unlike running a livery service. Moms who are so disposed fill their days with kids and their activities. Call me a tomboy, or call me a self-absorbed mom, but I'm not so disposed. I think all this activity focus is bull, so my kids don't do a whole ton of running around... Well, they do some. But I do more. Multiple jobs, a music career, family in assisted living, and early rising to write write and write. (Hardly any cleaning of the house; I've been advised not to talk about that outside the Circle of Trust, so don't tell anyone I said that.) All this time, I've been telling myself that if I would just drop a few pursuits and have more free time (oh God the coffee is kicking in; brace yourself) I will be an organized, attentive, caring, eternally patient, and highly motivated mother who actually reads all the fliers that come home from school.

Social Isolation Wisdom 2020 says: Nope. 

Some of us like to be alone in our thoughts. Some of us HATE to play dinosaurs. Some of us do not want to sit on the floor and play Pokemon cards, which by the way requires a PhD in Inane Absurdity, redundancy doubly and perhaps triply intended, several times. Pokemon cards make no sense and they are almost as stupid as housework. (Thank you, Soul Fry, for that important life lesson the other day.) The numbers of requests for apple juice and snacks mount up at a rate as alarming as COVID-19 cases, and I fear that there is no mask that can protect my little darlings from the viral tsunami that will spew forth from my lips. I love you, my sweet child. I do. But get your own apple juice.

An inside look at "Here's your toast, honey."
[. . . ]

For example,  the break I just took to make toast and grapes to deliver to Little Lord Fauntleroy at the television, then extract the grapes and toast from the dog's mouth, impound the dog on the porch, make more toast, with peanut butter this time because the bread I made yesterday has the consistency of a styrofoam meat tray,  and then return here to my candle-lit fountain pen. Imagine the vile language my child was just subjected to from his mother, and how early in the morning. It went something like this: "Here you go honey." Soft, kind. Motherly. Gentle. But there may have been a slight hiss.

So we're doing it and there is frustration and there is love. We set up a craft table yesterday with rainbow-arranged pens. ("So satisfying," says the teen.) I serenely sat at the nearby sewing machine all day and made masks to donate to local hospitals, swearing gently all the while. Soul Fry baked cookies in the kitchen. (I swear there was no complete and total emotional meltdown when the lovely drops of dough melded into one giant lemon drop, and I swear that NO ONE told said teen to deal with it, life is hard, worry about something actually important next time. This response is taken directly from the Perfect Modern Parenting handbook.) And then Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" came on the Pandora stream, and we all got up and danced. Then some resourceful teen Googled what to do with ruined cookies, and then used them for cupcakes, and we ate them together at the dinner table and laughed our heads off while we watched another seafaring action flick, The Meg.

Day 9, and the kids are alright. And so were the cupcakes.

Doing our part.

Comments