For any student doing virtual school (and any caregiver bearing witness), I’ve no doubt there is a story about a technological glitch. A few weeks ago in the Feyen household, we had several of these stories, and consequently (or unfortunately or tragically — any of these words would suffice) they all happened at the same time.
For a few hours neither of my girls could get into their virtual classrooms. The link was broken or incorrect, or it had changed. Something was wrong with Zoom or Google Hangouts, or someone’s computer wasn’t working.
My daughters endure these trials differently. Harper rages, and she does it instantaneously, and then it’s over. Hadley is more like a slow moving and seemingly unpredictable storm. Have you heard those stories about how on sunny, perfect blue sky days, animals start to flee? Then about twelve hours later there’s a tsunami or hurricane, or other castostrophic storm? That’s what Hadley’s like — everything is fine until it’s not.
The day the technology seemed to die, my girls joined forces to create an emotionally perfect storm for all of us: Harper threw things. She screamed. She stomped. Hadley slowly trudged down the stairs, laid herself down on the couch and said plainly and monotonously, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this. Mama. When will the pandemic be over? I miss people.”
These days we feel all of it. Everything is a big deal, and there is so much to take care of. What’s more, some of the ways we take care are no longer possible. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that we are incapable, although it sure is nice to have an encouraging reminder of our competence from time to time.
Lucky for my family, Hadley and Harper are students to the best math teacher that ever was, and on the day of the Feyen Funk, this guy saved the day.
“This is not your fault,” he wrote to his classes. “Here is a new assignment: Go do something you love and tell about it.”
Now that is my kind of math.
Harper spent the afternoon dancing. Hadley got on her bike and met a friend for ice cream. I’ve never been the type of student who concerns herself with impressing teachers, but I also can’t pass up a brilliant assignment, and so I made sugar cookies. I cut the dough into ghosts since it’s October — the golden month to face a scary thing or two, and what better time to face it armed with creamed butter and sugar and a splash of vanilla?
It is not just the doing that I love; it’s the telling. I think taking the time to do the things we love is important — necessary, even. But to tell about it, to swallow laughter while you dance, to come home, eyes sparkling and say to your mom, “I feel so much better now. Thank you for letting me go.” To have a batch of cookies, freshly frosted and waiting to be shared on the kitchen counter. It is the telling of love that might be the best way we take care of each other.
This week do something you love, and then tell about it. (In a poem, if you can. Essays work too.)
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Megan Willome that we enjoyed