Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn into office. I voted for him. I believe in him. I use him as an example when my daughter loses faith in herself, because I suspect they have similar learning issues and look at how far he’s come. But yesterday I was unable to share in the joy. I did not watch the inauguration. I did not participate in the celebration on social media. Mostly I cried all day.
Yes, there is hope. Yes, things will change. But my reality is still 16-hour days. My reality is still spending weekends/holidays/days off compiling homeschooling materials, reward systems, science experiments, and other learning activities, only to have my kids fight learning at every turn. Anya does try, but her dyslexia gets in the way and I don’t know how to help her. She gets frustrated and gives up, and I don’t know what to do about it. Kai just doesn’t care, and I can’t make him care. Yes — I suck so bad, I can’t teach kindergarten. The last fun year of school he has. He hates anything that he even suspects might be educational. I did this to him.
My morning job is K-12 education journalism. I’ve read alllll the articles. How I’m ruining my children’s lives by keeping them out of school. How some kids are contemplating or committing suicide from the strain. How my daughter will most likely be made to repeat the 3rd grade if I send her back (just one of the many reasons I despise our governor), and the large percentage of kids who are held back that end up dropping out of school. How these learning losses are going to affect them the rest of their lives.
I also read the articles about climbing infection rates from the coronavirus. I read about the long haulers, who have sustained possibly lifelong damage from a virus that the idiots around me are comparing to a cold. I read about loved ones having to say goodbye by phone. I think about my babies dying. Me dying. Not being able to kiss them goodbye.
This is an impossible fucking decision, okay?
I’m drowning. I’m working two jobs and teaching two grades and maintaining a house and a family, and I’m doing it all so very badly. Our outdoor Christmas decorations are still up. And our Halloween pumpkin. I haven’t dusted or vacuumed my office in 6 months, and the bathroom is disgusting. My kids are subsisting on snack food and juice pouches. You can’t see any carpet in either of their rooms, and the playroom’s worse. I have hundreds of emails, texts, and messages hanging over my head. Half-finished projects all over the house. My to-do list goes back to before the holidays, and includes stuff like trying to get paid for some freelance work I did over Thanksgiving. Most days I don’t set foot outside the house at all, not even to the mailbox. Yesterday, all I ate was almonds and marshmallows, and I went to bed at 6:30 p.m. I say I’ll catch up over the weekend, but by the time the weekend rolls around, I’m exhausted.
I told myself it’s just one year, but the longer this goes on, the more I think it’s not just going to be one year. And of course I will do a second year if I have to, but how? How can I do this for another year?
So yes. There is hope. It is a new day, a new year, and things are going to get better. But not for us, not right now, not fast enough. I’m tired of being told I’m amazing, that this is so hard, that it’s okay to stumble. I’m tired of being told to be grateful for what I have. I AM grateful. So, so grateful. Things could be so much worse, and are for so many people. But that doesn’t mean this doesn’t suck. That doesn’t mean that I don’t need help. And it doesn’t mean I’m getting help anytime soon.