Gripping the Sides

Every morning I wake up at 4am. Do my thing with coffee, staring at my journal and cards until the caffeine kicks in. I slowly work my way through spiritual work. Enjoy the peace of pitch black morning breezed then I get on my way.

As the sole principle, vice principal, administrative manager, janitor, teachers aid and cafeteria worker there is much work to do. I toss the last of last nights wine, and the pencils snapped in half by first graders, mad at the world in a moment of math. I review the google classrooms, print the pages, tear out the worksheets, review the days schedules, going over them in fifteen minute increments until memorized, hang lists on the crooked cork board I bought for $5 from target. Then I paint a big fake smile on my face and wait for my students to arise.

Over the next few hours I will speed walk between rooms, between 8th and 1st grade. I will prepare snacks and sneak in some laundry. I will sit, just out of site from the camera, redirecting little minds back to their work. I will remove the cat from the “classroom” for the 5th time. I will act out the Boston Tea party. I will stare blankly at math I’m not sure I ever learned and certainly never understood.

At the lunch hour I depart, leaving my kids behind, to go to my “real” job for about six hours. By the time I get home to cook dinner and try not to bring up the subject of school for two hours, I have been awake and in motion for about 15 or so hours. And in some places, even being able to rest at that point is a privilege. That is not beyond me.

I am a woman who never rests. I am a woman without breaks. I am a woman without an outlet. I am all work and no play. I am a virtual school parent.

You don’t have to look far to find others going through the same but different, similar struggle. And somehow it relieves me to share this existential crisis with others. For me, its not even about what I am being asked to do, but the cost being paid by my kids. Without going into their personal experience. All I can say is that there is Karmic cost to this, we may not be the ones paying for it but the debt will be collected. It’s hard to see this placed on their shoulders. But that doesn’t make me any gentler of a mom in a moment where I am not on the ledge, but over it and hanging my my fingertips.

I a mantra on for size: “I don’t have to do this. I get to do this.” It’s not an obligation, but an honor. To raise, and teach and love and provide. I tell myself this again and again until it loses the question. I am so lucky and fortunate to have the wherewithal and resources to give my kids the best shot at this as I possibly can.

The Six of Swords is some rough fucking seas. And I am gripping the edges of the boat, doing everything in my power to not lose my lunch. I know the only way out is through. The only way to get where we are going, the unknown place we are headed, is to traverse this time. The rule here is virtual school and covid and all of it is the same as the ocean: keep your eye on the horizon. Focus on the long term. You can use logic and develop a course of navigation, but beyond that much of this experience is beyond our control. With every deep row forward, we pull ahead, putting space between each and every problem we have had to solve. We aren’t going back to where we came from, that place is not there anymore. it has been transformed by time and change. So all we can do is trust that were we are going is at the very least, better than where we are now.

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