I kinda mentally crashed and burned last week. I took a much needed week-off from writing. It was still a massively busy week, but I didn’t write or pitch anything for the past seven days. Back to work. I have several germs of opinion pieces that will get fleshed out, written, and sent around this week. In the meantime, let me just update the COVID diary here.
I am never not worried these days. This worry, one of the chief reasons for my burnout last week, is a constant dull ache that never goes away.
I’m worried about my kids. I’m desperately worried that being entombed with their parents for a such long period of time is developmentally unhealthy. There are missed major milestones and stagnating. Ian may never be able to make up this time, which is disastrous for a kid who hovers on the line between disabled and normal.
Jonah should be launching himself into adulthood with peers, gaining independence, and having adventures. Trying to make the most of a bad situation, he has pieced together various activities to fill his summer. He has an unpaid internship with the local Congressman, where he’s getting some new skills and lines for a resume. He’s picking up some spare cash by delivering food with Door Dash. He’s resurrected some old friendships with former high school chums and going to the local bar for drinks.
But he isn’t as busy as he should be. He isn’t socializing enough. The fall term is uncertain. All his classes are online, and dorms are closed. He has a lease with a new private dorm, but it’s not clear if construction will be done in time and whether his roommates will still be there with him. He might spend the fall in a dorm room alone eating McDonalds. We have no idea.
To keep the kids occupied, Steve and I have increased our parenting responsibilities. We are trying to find new and different socially distant day trips and activities to keep the boys from playing video games for 15 hours straight. On Saturday, we went to New York Botanical Gardens for the afternoon. Pictures later.
Ian’s school situation is beyond depressing. I feel like the school system has written off an entire generation of kids. More later on this.
I had a scholarship to go to an education writers’ conference in May — a typical conference with panels and evening socials in a hotel in Orlando. Obviously, that was cancelled. Last week, we had the virtual version. Honestly, I loved it.
I watched every panel, while doing something else. With the conference on the Zoom app on my iPad, I made chicken soup in the kitchen one afternoon. I listed books on the Internet. I slipped out for a doctor’s appointment. I got all the information and professional development, while doing twenty other things. I didn’t have to sit in a hard chair for seven hours and make lame chitchat with PR professionals or chase editors. I didn’t get my curly hair blown dried straight the day before or obsess about outfits.
I hope I never have to attend a real conference every again.
Back to the worries. I am worried about my parents. I haven’t hugged my mother since March. We stopped by their house on the way from our trip into the city on Saturday. For the first time in months, we sat in the kitchen and chatted with them, because it was too hot for my mom on the back porch. But they huddled on one side of the room with us on the other.
My folks are too isolated. In their 80s, they should be enjoying every moment with their grandkids, old friends, and their church. Instead, they are sitting in their house alone with the ever present terror of getting the virus. I would make them move in with us, but we can’t be distant enough from the rest of the world to make me feel secure that they would be safe here.
This situation is tragic for the oldies, too.
And my worries multiply.
I am worried about the economy. I am worried that I should be writing more to inform people about the situation. I am worried that I should be working to find solutions for my kids and for others. I am worried that the pandemic with political unrest is leading to permanent and pernicious changes in government and social life. I am worried that people with the best of intensions are bringing about a dystopian society. I am worried that people won’t get the damn vaccine when it’s available and that we’ll be stuck like this for years.
It’s hard work being a neurotic.