My typical is the silly and uplifting snippets from life: quirky things my kids say, the cute antics of our fuzzy orange cat James, hikes and meals enjoyed by family and friends. It is the lemonade from the lemons of life. But I have lost my cup of sugar and my water supply is depleting rapidly, leaving me with lemons I struggle to dilute and make tolerable to the taste.
From me, when you see my name pop up in your digital noise, you expect lemonade with a sprig of mint, picturesque and thirst quenching on a lovely summer day. It is what I expect from myself when I am inspired to write.
And that is it. I have been unable to see those moments, unable to make anything that would be recognizable as lemonade, so I have stopped writing.
But now, maybe I need to write about the lemons. So here is one:
Standing in my classroom just yesterday, a classroom which should have 29 students, but several are out due to exposure or being positive or they have simply not shown up. We are all masked and they are busy learning about Martin Luther King Jr. – watching parts of his I Have a Dream speech, reflecting on what they might dream about and how they can make a difference, when I get a text with the results of my COVID test. It is negative so I sent a flippant text to Husband – “Ha! I am negative! Take that world! Did you get the other results?” Only Cody’s has come in and his is negative too. Trying to make light of it all, I text back that now half of our family can go out and party this weekend.
A student raises their hand and as I walk over to address their question, Husband sends a one word text – Crap
Carter has come back positive. I manage through the last twenty minutes before I can get my students to lunch and then have lunch myself. I am very glad for my transition lenses which darken in the sun and for my mask, masking more than it is designed to – my raw terror, my fear, my fight or flight instincts. These are the same feelings that caused me to drop everything and collect Cody from school on the day of Sandy Hook.
I cry in the bathroom.
It is not that he is positive, his fever has gone away and his cough is receding, but I worry about his emotional state because I know that mine is in shambles.
I am angry. I am angry at the virus. I am angry at the selfish, disrespectful, self-entitled masses that give more weight to their individual wants instead of providing support and kindness to humanity so we can uproot this invasive virus that has sprouted and consumed the garden of our lives.
I am sad. I am sad that children are being robbed of years of their childhood, the innate innocence and youthful bliss of simply being a child.
I am tired. I am tired of all of this. I want to peel away the oppressive and unsettling weight pressing down upon me, roll back time and start over. But I can’t. I can’t and that makes me feel trapped and in turn claustrophobic in my own life.
And now it is like that phenomena where, say, you decide to buy a car, a Subaru. From that point forward you start to see them everywhere. You can’t not see them. Despite my efforts I am getting to the point where I can only see the bad, the negative, the dark. And I don’t even watch the news.
So, at five o’clock this morning all of this was rolling around in my head. My COVID positive thirteen year old son sleeping in his room across the hall. Tears sprang to my eyes and I turned my wrist to see what time it was, gadging if it was late enough to get up and make some coffee.
My watch did not show me the time, or rather, maybe it did. On the screen was the low power notification.
Exactly. Exactly perfect. Low power feels about right.
(And a note so no one judges my texting during teaching, having our phones on us, as teachers, has now become an expectation. Things move so fast, being untethered from communication is a thing of the past.)