Because this is my first pandemic, I’m not sure I’m doing everything right.
I failed miserably trying to get my kids to make stained glass mosaics using sidewalk chalk and blue painters tape, a social-distancing, suburban-driveway art project that is ubiquitous across the nation. Still, our experience ended in five dollars worth of painters tape wrangled into a giant sticky ball in the trash, a sulky teen rolling her eyes at my insistence that “it will be fun!” and a toddler escaping to the middle of the (thankfully empty) street due to lack of proper supervision. All without even one Instagram worthy creation to share.
I haven’t baked a single loaf of bread. I haven’t made a pan of cinnamon rolls or baked anything from scratch at all. I’m just making my normal stuff. I’m thankful when I can find the foods my family loves at the grocery store, and I’m flexible when we can’t. I did manage to break the tip of a paring knife trying to open an Amazon package without touching it with my hands, and I ruined a pan browning freezer-burned hashbrowns.
I was two weeks behind on the idea to have a neighborhood bear hunt. It sounded like such a fun idea, but I must have missed all the neighborhood reminders on social media indicating we were supposed to do our bear hunt weeks ago. Thankfully a few sympathetic neighbors took pity on my little family and found some stuffies to fill their windows.
I missed our local teacher parade because, as it turns out, when you have several weeks of not having to get out of bed to go anywhere, you kind of forget how long it takes to get out of your bed to go somewhere. Even when that somewhere is just a few blocks away. Sorry teachers. We love and appreciate you.
I have learned how to Zoom. I carefully selected a quaint corner in my master bedroom that was quiet, secluded from kids, and well-decorated. Unfortunately, my coworkers mistook the cozy nook for my bathroom. It was day three into my new daily Zoom meetings before a friend had the courage to text and ask if the only place I could find privacy in my house was in my bathroom with my toilet as a chair.
Now, I Zoom in my unfinished basement with toys, building materials, and exposed insulation creating a layered backdrop. My bored house cats add a layer when they stroll impudently across my keyboard.
And while I do have plenty of toilet paper, because big families tend to keep an abundance of toilet paper in the house regardless of the state of public health, I failed to foresee a shortage of baby wipes. This is a problem because a member of my family still really needs baby wipes. Just a normal amount. Nothing crazy.
My toddler is in diapers, and while some believe this quarantine is the perfect time to potty train their younglings, I can think of nothing more stressful than adding a challenging coming-of-age task to this already uncertain time. I accepted the generosity of a friend who, admirably, recently potty trained her toddler and dropped off a few packages of unopened wipes on my front porch in the nick of time.
Worst of all, I’ve not watched a single episode of Tiger King. And I know that this, above all else, is an absolute must if I want to participate in 90% of exchanges on my social media accounts.
So please forgive me, because this is my first pandemic, and I’m a bit of a mess.