I Hate the Term New Normal

I’m sitting here, this Friday evening–and, all I keep thinking is HOW is already Friday? This past week both flew by and inched along, somehow simultaneously. (This blog post was actually started on Sunday. I feel like that was just yesterday, also it feels like last year.)

This week, we started distance learning. My teen is fantastic at that kind of thing. She is organized, she is thorough, she is detail-oriented, and self-motivated–however, she is lonely. She has a fantastic group of friends with whom she is accustomed to going out to eat with, hitting the coffee shops with, studying with, ride-sharing with, and just, in-general, being with everyday. Her friends have, within the past year, become the biggest part of her life. It won’t be like this for forever–but, we all remember how in high school, one day can feel like an eternity. This, to her, is an eternity on steroids.

My Kindergartner attends a Montessori school–so, distance learning for him is even more unique. (Montessori schools are much more about student-lead, hands-on, learning–as opposed to traditional, text-book driven learning.) He is no stranger to learning at home, and I am no stranger to teaching him–but, following along with what his teachers are are giving us, has us in a unique spot. I’m trying to follow the natural rhythms of our day, while adding in what they would like us to accomplish–and, to put it mildly, there seems to be a disconnect somewhere. There is more online work than he is used to, and he is struggling with the distractions of not being surrounded by peers his own age. (Today, as he was trying to focus, his sister got up for breakfast and to complain about her life–and his brother wanted to play with allllllll the toys that he wasn’t supposed to. It was rough; there was frustration, and yelling, and tears…mixed with very little learning.)

Then, there is my two year old who is used to his time alone, with me. He is used to his quiet days, lots of one-on-one time, and days of calmly building with blocks, playing with his trucks, and not worrying about competition with his bother–none of that can happen right now, and he is acting out as two-year old’s do. He is also speech-impaired, and is very accustomed to his therapy days–which have also come to a halt. (The speech impairment just adds to his frustrations. He always gets his point across–but, sometimes, it takes a bit…)Β 

And, then there’s me. I literally spend the entire day, seven days a week, trying to fix things, worrying about the needs of others, teaching, meal planning, breaking up fights, creating, cooking, having meaningful conversations, working for my bosses, learning new technology, cleaning, laughing, listening, problem-solving, thinking ahead, coming up with plans, and more than anything…just trying to breathe.

I miss my parents. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my church. I miss my work. I miss thrift shopping. I miss garage sales. I miss hugs. I miss my daily workouts. I miss the coffee shop. I miss everything that was my life a month ago. I feel so sad for so much, as I grieve the loss of my former life. I feel so sad, as I grieve over the loneliness, and the struggles, of others.

And, it is all so hard.

But, ya know what? It’s all so hard for all of us. I have no sympathy for me. Hell, I have things pretty damn okay. I have cried twice this month. (Writing this is the second time. πŸ˜‰ ) I feel optimistic. I feel safe. I feel privileged–and, I recognize my privilege. I feel loved. I feel secure in all of the physical distance I’m living with. I feel financially secure. I feel free in my yard, and within my neighborhood. I have more than I will ever need–and, above all, I have my health. But, I am still so empty feeling.

This world we are living in, has us feeling very black and white. Days feel like both a minute, and a month. Loneliness feels so justified, and so selfish. Thoughts feel like both grief, and thankfulness. Smiles feel like both pride, and sympathy. Hugs feel like both closeness, and goodbyes. Daily life feels like both a new normal, and an infinite purgatory. Future thoughts feel like both reality, and dreams. It’s all just so much to try to understand, and make sense of. I’m actually happiest when I don’t think about any of it, and just live in the moment.

Anyway…obviously all of my writings are mostly a bag of contradictions. I don’t know the right things to say–so, I just write it as I think it. This week, I realized that I HAD to start doing something for me–so, I started a bit of a photo project. It’s nothing special–just simple monochrome images of my daily life. It gives me so much excitement to sit down, every night, to sift through what I’ve shot during the day. The focus of this project is on the ‘new normal’ of family life. I’ll post a bunch of them in my next blog post. For now though…here is a bit of what last week held…

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