I don’t know what to tell you about the past two weeks – weeks Three and Four of our coronavirus isolation.
I was going to tell you about my Lenten sacrifice, the one where I gave up wasting time and indulging in escapism. How I gave up escapism just before the world turned upside down and the schools closed and grocery shelves emptied and suddenly all I wanted to do was escape.
How I felt like God had rounded up all my weaknesses and insecurities and thrust them in my face.
I could tell you about my quickly-trashed “homeschooling” schedule and the fifteen million computer programs my kids are supposed to use to do their schoolwork. How I’ve only very slowly progressed from a “This is never going to work” mindset to a “If we work really hard, maybe we can do the bare minimum” mindset.
And how I truly mean the “we” in that sentence, because for Kindergarteners, second-graders, and fourth-graders, remote learning requires great, big, heaping helpings of parental involvement. Which is hard to fit in when you’re cooking three meals a day and running the dishwasher twice a day and changing five diapers a day and trying to keep laundry moving so you don’t drown in it.
And how I don’t know how teleworking parents are managing it. Except I imagine that most of them have fewer than five kids, and maybe it’s easier to telework and oversee remote learning when you’re not doing it with five kids.
And how, when I stop to think about that, I experience a brief, wistful daydream of an easier, more peaceful, one- or two-child quarantine. For about five seconds, at which point I remember that I have never been more thankful for our large family than I am now, during this pandemic.
You should see these kids, rolling around the house and yard like a pack of laughing, half-drunk rugby players. They are enjoying each other so much. They are loving each other so much, growing in kindness and consideration for each other even as they howl about somebody knocking over somebody else’s Legos.
I feel like I’m getting a glimpse at how much they’ll enjoy each other as goofball teenagers (and hopefully adults?) and I am so very grateful for it.
I could tell you about the playset Brennan is building for the kids or the bunkbed he just finished or how he keeps having to detach and reattach the sink in the powder room because plumbing is horrible. (This weekend I literally heard him say, “Die, sink!” to the thing. That’s how bad this has gotten.)
I could tell you about our low-key but lovely commemorations of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the latter of which happened to be my birthday. (Good Friday during a pandemic! Probably the least cheerful day for a birthday, but blessedly quiet and pleasant nonetheless.)
I could tell you about our unexpectedly sweet Easter, and how much more relaxing a holiday can be when you’re not allowed to go anywhere.
I could tell you how we seem to not be the sort who can pull off liturgically-themed crafts or foods or activities, but we do ask a lot of questions and talk a lot of things through, and I’m beginning to see the fruits of that in my kids’ religious devotions. And how amazingly hopeful that makes me feel.
I could tell you about the things that are not making me hopeful right now, all coronavirus related. The continued inadequacy of testing, the upswing in grocery workers falling ill with the virus, the dearth of solid plans for reopening the economy. (Plans, not dates. There seem to be plenty of dates, but few plans for making them workable.)
I could tell you about any number of these things.
I could write for hours and not be done telling you all I have to say. But these days, from the moment I wake until the moment everyone else falls asleep, my time seems to belong to someone other than me.
So here I sit, in the still, sweet, quiet of Past Everybody Else’s Bedtime, and I try to just say something.
Happy Easter, friends. He is risen! He has defeated death, and we have hope.