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.

9 thoughts on “Yesterday

  1. Oh, man, I’m so sorry things are so sucky for you right now. I wish there was some way I could help. All I can say is take it one day at a time. I’m sure before long you will start to see some light at the end of this tunnel. Just hang on and do your best each day and know that there’s lots of us out there rooting for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the worse side effects from all this is not being able to just pop in and lend a hand to a friend. Not that I could easily do that for you, since I’m in Kansas, but I would if I could. And I bet some closer friends would too. COVID stinks in so many ways.

    I’m sending you a big (((((HUG)))))) and hoping you guys get a beautiful sunny day (like it is here today) soon and you can all escape the house for a romp at the park (or something else just as relaxing). 💜😎

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicole, I really wish that there was something that I could do to help. We have never met, and are only social media friends, but most of your postings have always been upbeat…..and this one scares me. You are a beautiful person and mother, with two beautiful children, and these horrible times will someday be behind us. Hang in there girl, stay tough for your children. You are doing better than you give yourself credit for.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So, I saved this because I wanted to read it a couple times before responding. I sure wish I had answers for you! And I know it really doesn’t help things much to say that you’re in good company. You’re basically working 3 jobs as far as I can see it, and I really feel for you. Plus, mental and physical exhaustion makes everything feel doubly worse. As for the school stuff, I can only offer that a neighboring county here made Kindergarten optional this year, because it’s totally online (and what 5 year old can sit still for longer than 20 minutes?). Plus, every teacher I’ve ever known says the kids all even out around grade 3. If he’s bucking at anything school, I’d just let him play, forget about school, and sneak in a few numbers and letters when you read to him. (Bedtime Math has fun ideas for math lessons that don’t feel like lessons.) I have a friend whose daughter is in online Kindergarten, and she spends the whole day fighting with her girl to do her work, while the poor thing cries and is already upset with herself when she doesn’t get good “grades.” Lord, this year has been trying enough on our emotions! Learning disabilities make things trickier, I’m sure, but I bet your kids are doing better than you’re giving yourself credit for. I was glad to see your photos on IG over the weekend and hope you had a good one. I’m finding just a change of scene does wonders for my mood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting out did help us all considerably. We had a backlog of things to do this weekend, but the sun was shining and it wasn’t freezing for once, so we just went. I’m hoping this spring is as nice as last year; if we are still in isolation mode, we could at least go on picnics and take walks. We love our house, but the walls close in on us sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

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