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I’m ready to share that story from 2 weeks ago. Everyone has been experiencing Coronavirus and our new “normal” in vastly different ways. At first, I was jumping for joy at the opportunity to work from home. I was excited to have more time to read, reflect and spend time with myself. I was eager to see if this would help me save some money as I was staying home and doing less. I was ready to dive into some courses I signed up for but was struggling to make time for. And I want to emphasize. I am so over the moon grateful that Ross and I still have our jobs through all this. So many of our friends and loved ones are laid off or unable to find work, and we are very lucky. My intention is to share my experience and not belittle anyone else’s. As we began to learn about online learning and what that would look like for teachers in our district, I was optimistic. It felt like this may be an opportunity to become even better teachers and implement the practices we know work, but we never had the time or energy to do well. I was hopeful that by being FORCED to work with our teams, we’d actually work better as a team when we went back to normal in school learning. Then we dug into the planning process and the implementation during that first week, there were so many factors that were out of our control. There were so many families sending angry emails and blaming teachers and schools. It felt like our hard work preparing everything went unnoticed. I didn’t have time to read or take time for myself. I couldn’t get everything done. I couldn’t do everything as well as I normally do at school.
But as many teachers do, we rally and do the best we can in our situation. We video chatted with families to troubleshoot tech problems. We sent encouraging videos to kids that were in dark places. We sent emojis through video chats and we tried to pick every family up. One at a time. It was grueling, but it felt good. Soon the inboxes were filled with messages of relief and appreciation. It started to feel like we could do this.
With an almost empty inbox and my lesson materials prepared (enough) I went into the weekend. The transition from weekday to weekend is the most difficult. There is no transition. It’s just more of the same. My husband Ross and I try to do simple, fun, out of the ordinary things to liven up the weekends as best we can. Going into this weekend felt a little different because it was such a rollercoaster of emotion.
This next part I’m going to do my best to share my experience and leave my husband out to be respectful of his privacy.
As we went into Friday I had expectations of what I was wanting and needing. I also had emotions from the week I was still carrying and my energy and vitality was low. Ross and I got into an argument as we were walking back from the liquor store. It wasn’t even a full on argument. We both said a few things and we both completely shut down. Stone walls were up. This was not how Ross and I fought. Yes, we disagree but we work through it sharing how we experienced a situation and what we wanted to happen based on our needs and wants.
I had a video call setup with my family right away when we got back, and we both jumped on without talking through anything that just happened. This call was so important to me because of my family’s past and that’s an entirely different story in itself. So now we’re on this call and I’m connecting with my cousins that I haven’t seen in YEARS. Honestly, 5 or 6 years. My parents, whom I haven’t seen in weeks, are also on the call after painfully walking through the technology to get them setup. And I’m catapulted to gratitude and love. It’s crazy that this pandemic is providing an opportunity to connect with loved ones that I haven’t made the time to connect with because life got in the way.
As we ended the call Ross was sitting across from me and said, “I didn’t like how that went down earlier.” As we tried to return to our old selves, working through our disagreements. I really struggled. I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling or what I needed and why I needed it. Ross shared that he couldn’t tell when he was going to be triggered by everything going on. We stumbled through the conversation as best we could, but couldn’t quite get back to level ground.
I felt as if I was walking on eggshells and then Ross attempted some lightness and humor to break the heaviness and that set me off again. I completely lost it. I don’t know if I was crying because I was exhausted from the rollercoaster of emotion. I don’t know if it was the time with my family. I don’t know if I was crying over the life we had before all this and how we operated as a couple. I mentioned in a previous post that my good friend @hillaryogle shared that we’re all grieving a loss. We’re all grieving the lives we had before this pandemic hit. Maybe this was part of my grieving process.
So I did the only thing I could think of. I drove to pick up our takeout food and I sat in the car alone and listened to music. Music brings me back to life and being alone gives me a chance to get back to myself without worrying about how anyone else is experiencing something.
With all that said, we’re all going through this a little differently. We’re just doing the best we can. So be kind and patient. The only direction we can go is forward.