Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters


social distancing; corona virus;

feeling vulnerable

I’ve been trying to write about my feelings as we all maneuver our way through this insane path our lives have all taken. I feel like it’s good for my mental health. But today, I’m feeling pretty darn vulnerable. But I think it’s important I get it all out.

More and more days lately, I’m feeling like a failure. Have I done enough? Given enough? Been enough? To the ones I love? To anyone at all?

I’ve dedicated myself to raising children and teaching students. Of that, I am proud. But I don’t think I’ve done a very good job. There’s still so much more I could have given.

More patience. More attention. More lessons. More love.

And now, I’m tied to my house and I’m tired.

I woke up last night thinking I had the Corona. My back was stiff. Was it my lungs? Were they feeling brittle? Was I short of breath? Was that a vibration I felt in my solar plexus? Was I having chills? Was this the beginning of the end?

And if not of my physical health, what about my mental health? I’m an introvert. The first couple weeks of this whole stay at home thing weren’t so bad. If I’m being honest, I sort of liked it.

But now… now, I’m really starting to miss my daily routine, my students and their smiles, my coworkers and their sarcasm. My weekly trips to Kroger, my favorite table at my favorite Mexican restaurant.

I woke up this morning, thankful. Thankful the soreness I’d felt in my lungs is simply a knot under my shoulder blade from yard work, not the virus.

But still. I can’t shake this feeling that I’m just not good enough. Not good enough to mother my sons 24/7 with no break. Not good enough to be a good friend and daughter from afar. Not good enough to teach students remotely. Not good enough to write anything folks might really want to read. Not good enough to make any sort of difference in a pandemic.

Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine. They say Newton discovered gravity. And me, I can barely do laundry and dinner, get dressed.

When life is at its normal pace, I can fake it pretty well. I can hustle and bustle and smile and teach, and I can be fairly efficient and fairly decent at most of it.

But when things have ground down to this — to slow motion replays day in and day out… I don’t hold up under scrutiny. All the errors appear.

When the days are stretched taut the threads will pop, the weak will unravel. I am a mousy, mulish mommy no body really wants.

My boys are in love with their daddy. They’ve never seen him so much in their lives. It’s like a carnival and he is their favorite ride. He carries them on his shoulders, drags them from his ankles on their bellies down the hall. He puts together their new bikes, blows up their new pool, and spins their world at his fingertips. Just like he does mine.

Me. I’m just me. Still here. Like I always have been. Tired and true, but nothing special.

I have children in other states who love me, but they’re grown with lives of their own. Time creeps and time flies. And I, I barely make a dent. Now more than ever it’s obvious.

This whole pandemic thing has me in an existential crisis, I know it has. Trying to figure out exactly who I am and what I’m worth. And whether or not any of it really matters. Coronavirus has so much power over my life, my thoughts, my loves right now. Everything I am and everything I do is so inexorably wrapped around it… and all of it, and all of us, are so very vulnerable.

I am a daughter of two seventy-something parents. Vulnerable. I am the niece of medically-fragile aunts and uncles. Vulnerable. I’m the mother of four children, two grown, two in the nest. Vulnerable. I’m the wife of a good man who loves us all really well. Vulnerable. I’m a teacher of 167 students I haven’t seen in three-and-a-half weeks. Vulnerable. And thousands of students over time I haven’t seen in some time. Vulnerable. I am a writer of essays and blogs and a novel in the works. Vulnerable.

I am all of those things. But who am I really? And is any of it really good enough?

I’m trying, but I’m tired. These slivers of day pulled taut and endless have me tired.

But I will keep going. Keep loving. Keep teaching. Keep writing. And maybe one day, it will all be enough. Maybe.

That’s the thing with existential crises… you really just never know.

flatten the curve, or life as we know it might flatline

If I said I wasn’t scared, I’d be lying. If I said I wasn’t frustrated, I’d be lying.

There’s so much of the unknown about this whole pandemic. It’s creating pandemonium in the world and in our hearts. We are all victims of COVID19. Some physically. Others financially. Still more emotionally.

Our immediate family has been impacted, but so far, it’s been pretty easy on us. Mike and I are both teachers. We’ve got our boys home with us. We’ve got computers and online access and assignments for our students, and books and computers for our boys. We have plenty of food and ample shelter. We can hunker down in our home and ride out this virus relatively (hopefully) unscathed.

But not so with everybody. Not so with my girls. One, a surgeon, lives alone in Dallas, Texas. I worry about her nonstop. She’s putting herself directly in the path of COVID19 every time she enters the hospital. Soon, she’ll be back in the trauma bay, deep in the ER where all patients will initially come.

If she gets sick, there’s no one at home to take care of her. She went to the grocery store last night and there was almost nothing left on the shelves. No milk, no bread… no staples. She found frozen croissants, some cheese products, and precooked bacon. The contents of her grocery sack were slim and random.

My other daughter works in a dental office. Her state has mandated a school shutdown (like most states in our country at this point). That means, she’s going to be home with her two boys and potentially no income.

I worry about my sister. She’s in the hospitality business. She books conventions for corporations at luxury resorts. She has zero income at this point. The market for her profession is far emptier than the slim and random contents of my daughter’s grocery sack.

I worry about my father. He’s 78 and stubborn as his beloved mule Kate. He lives alone and refuses to stockpile a thing. He continues to venture out into the community. His church was the very epicenter of the corona virus in our community. He’s refuses to read articles from his smart phone because he believes it will be infected with a virtual virus, but he readily went back to his church to distribute food to those in need at the food kitchen. He is living in denial. I admire his good will, but I’m insanely frustrated with his lack of sense.

I’m concerned for my friend’s father, who was scheduled to have an urgent surgery this week. It’s now been rescheduled. According to my surg-onc daughter, doctors are currently rescheduling all surgeries except emergent ones. Cancelations include urgent, critical surgeries for cancer patients. It’s an ethical dilemma that’s tearing at her soul.

I worry about my students. So many rely on the sanctuary of our hallways to escape hardships at home. They find refuge and love inside our classrooms that sadly they don’t find inside their houses. These students are now struggling alone. We’ve implemented certain safety nets to try to keep an eye on these students, but some are unknown to us. I fear for them always. I definitely fear for them now.

I am sad for my senior students, who are losing a large chunk of their spring semester — with the possibility of losing even more. They are isolated from friends and missing major milestones. They’re approaching a significant and often uncertain crossroads in their lives — now with the added burden of uncertainties none of us has ever experienced. Their sorrow is not to be ridiculed or minimized. I am so sad for them.

I have friends who’ve had to postpone weddings and proms and birthday parties and (possibly) graduations. Celebrations and life events are being put on hold. We are all hurting. We are all victims of COVID19.

The pandemic is impacting us in so many ways. People need to listen to the experts. Listen to our government. Listen to your friends and family.


Quit feeding the virus. Quit spiking the curve. Have we learned nothing from China and Italy and Korea? Flattening the curve is something we need to take seriously. Staying home is something we need to take seriously.

And yes, a lot of things will flatten right along with that curve — physical health for some; financial health for many; emotional health for us all — if we don’t flatten it, life in all its myriad forms as we know it, just might flatline. We can and will help each other pick up the pieces.

But first, STAY HOME. So we can all get back to normal — a new normal, perhaps — but back to normal.



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