Eighth Day

Even though we have All Day, we wait until Normal Time to practice. Then I look up and see it’s 8:15 PM and no one is in jams. Then I realize time doesn’t matter.

I remember distance learning kicking us into outer space where we spun – still alive, somehow – untethered.

Seventh Day

I am confident we won’t have school the rest of the week.

Here are 50 words about the day. This one is “No Change.”

The district e-mails. The subject line is, “Negotiations continue; classes canceled Tuesday,” leading me to believe they think we could be back on Wednesday. Which is when I read the e-mail and find that there is no change in the near future. Which means there is no change in mine.

Sixth Day

This one is “Snowmelt.”

Snowmelt flowed down the path at the nature center we visited. What a jerk, moving so freely like that, directly under my feet.

I’m tensing about the week to come.

Bedtimes never matter when we switch to Daylight Saving Time or the Sunday before the second week of a strike.

Fifth Day

I call this one “Too Much Not Enough.”

We run in circles.
We cry standing.

Outside is gray.
Inside is, too, until the baby plays peekaboo.

Tasks accomplished like springs; push them down until you can’t hold them back any longer and damn it if they don’t knock you over.

It’s way too much and not nearly enough.

Fourth Day

I call this one “She Goes Away.”

“What is most exciting about going to Mexico?” I ask.

“The sun,” she replies. “It will be sad.”

And at the airport, I try not to say, “Have fun,” and yet I fail.

Telling her to have fun is imposing on her an agenda.

To lie is always an option.

Third Day: Family in 50

Our teachers are striking. Today is the third day. Reporting is that the sides — the teachers’ union and the school district — remain far apart.

Let’s make things tougher and more satisfying by writing in 50 words exactly a snapshot of how daily life shows up with three little kids in the middle of a pandemic at the end of winter at the beginning of a teachers’ strike.

Teachers strike, parents themselves to kids home now. I brace for uncertain weeks. My three run circles, laughing, which won’t last. They’ll dissolve before screens; I don’t have energy to enrich them. We survive this like everything else. A pandemic with a strike on top, and no way to prepare.

My disclaimer is that I’m writing simply to exercise my brain and distract myself from daily annoyances which are minimal in light of the war, in light of our privilege, in light of the fact that I should be more thankful and grateful and happy and all that. Writing proves to be a necessary and accessible escape.