I've been a basket case since Friday. The end of another school year…It’s always a mixed bag of emotions. But, the end of the 2020 school year? This is a whole new vibe. I’d been working hard to convince myself that the silver lining of all this quarantine, remote learning madness is that it would soften the blow of the emotional instability that typically accompanies the final days. There wouldn’t be the normal classroom parties and teary teachers to send the fragile mothers into a real tailspin. But when my son, Field, woke me up to the reminder he’d be going off to college in “only 10 more years”, I realized I’d been a fool to think I could dodge the breakdown. Then the slideshows and zoom parties and teary teachers still happened and I realized I was foolish again to think they wouldn’t find a way to show up exactly as they always do despite the circumstances. I tried to thank them, but couldn’t get a single word out through all of the tears. How can we ever thank them enough for not only providing some normalcy, but for ensuring their students continued to thrive outside of their classrooms? I actually think mine will remember it as one of their favorite years.
So, when Friday came to a close, I wondered why I still had a pit in my stomach. I felt fulfilled and thankful for their overall experience and yet, I couldn’t shake the heaviness. I’ve had my moments of fear and anxiety throughout all of this, but grieving the loss of normalcy that so many describe hadn’t hit me yet. In fact, I’ve welcomed the slower pace. Now, the lack of routine that we typically celebrate this time of year feels completely overwhelming. Cancelled plans are sinking in. No guarantees of safe play dates, or day camps to help keep us busy. No movie theatres, or jump parks on rainy days. No holiday weekends at Pickwick with four generations of family members testing the seams of Gran’s lake house…none without worry at least. It feels like we’ve been robbed of the carefree spirit of Summer, and it seems the loss has catapulted me into the anger phase of grief.
Today, the school stepped up again to host an optional virtual field day. They haven’t chalked a single thing up as a loss. I, however, should have probably quit while I was never ahead. As much as I’d love to take credit for being a “homeschool teacher”, I was merely a zoom room facilitator, and a terrible one at that. I’ve spent the past several weeks completely on edge as I tried to get my children to the right place at the right time without ever actually going anywhere. So, this morning when I couldn’t find the first grade Field Day link, I hit the wall. I can’t unmute myself, I’m logged into the wrong grade, I’m late, I’m going to miss the whole thing, mom, mom, MOM! All of the pressure and emotions came to a head. I snapped. I call it...my zoom snap. We were all so frustrated and we wanted so badly to blame each other. I threw all of the activity materials into a laundry basket which Field promptly launched across the back yard. I was jealous of him for getting to do exactly what I wanted to. We argued back and forth for a minute or so…not long, but long enough to be thankful we don’t have neighbors out here. Then we sat on the porch and I rocked my little boy while we had a good cry. When the dust settled we agreed, we were angry at the situation, not each other. They wanted to be at school, with friends and coaches and teachers and popsicles and music, and boy did I wish they’d been there instead of here. The internet wasn’t the only thing searching for a better connection.
Field decided to turn the day around and create a relay race for the 3 of us, no internet required. Goodbye, Zoom Rooms. It's finally feeling like Summer. Even though it may look a bit different this year, we are going to do our best to balance it's sweetness and insanity, all while saying lots of prayers for a speedy return to our beloved little school…I’ll also be adding to those requests a fervent prayer that my child actually left the Field Day Zoom Room before I completely lost my shit in front of all of it’s Junior Kindergarten participants. If not, please consider this confession a formal apology, and remember, I am grieving, dadgummit. Aren't we all?