Our Stories: The real world during the pandemic

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By Beth Nabors Moss

In all the chaos of the pandemic, a routine emerges.  The order of the days’ events play out the same way each day.  I find myself relating to Bill Murray’s 1993, Groundhog Day.  I am trapped in a nightmare of repeating myself.  I hear my voice saying the same commands over and over.  

I begin the day as a teacher. The class comes to order with a click of a button.  Technology now sets the rules.  Questions no longer are directed to me, but to Google.  I am learning from the students as each answer, essay, or project provides an in-depth explanation supported by Wikipedia.  How did we get here?  How did my months of preparation and foundation of learning in these students get replaced by someone names “Siri?”  I am amazed at how fast these students can post, Snapchat, and TickTok but can never seem to email, upload or perform simple work processing skills.  My heart aches to hear their voices, see their smiles and laugh together.  Our classroom has become a set of squares on a screen as we communicate like the intro to the Brady Bunch.  Who knew that a 1970s sitcom would resurface as the 2020 classroom?  

As if managing a classroom was not enough, I now become the homeschool teacher.  Teaching is my wheelhouse so this should be a piece of cake, wrong!  I soon find out that I know nothing about fourth or sixth grades.  I am clearly not the teacher and I certainly do not teach like the regular classroom teacher.  My patience wears thin and I exile each child to solitary confinement, one inside and one outside.  I evoke the limitations of questions that can be asked.  I often ask myself, “Do my children annoy the teacher this much at school?”  Jesus take the wheel!  I pray for strength to continue to love my children and not to hurl the math book into a blazing pit of fire.  

Finally, by mid-afternoon I become my last and final job of the quarantine:  Mom/ short order cook/ the maid/ parole officer/ recreation director and wife.  Each job is rolled into one, ever repeating in a monotonous way.  Never have I ever cooked so much.  Even during the honeymoon phase of marriage, I did not prepare this many meals.  Never have I ever craved processed foods of cheeseburgers and fries.  As the parole officer, according to my children I grow another head with horns.  Due to the behaviors during homeschool, consequences are handed out as easy as stimulus checks.  Our home has become the quarantine camp of hard knocks.  Recreation tends to double up as manual labor.  Life is beings taught beyond the computer.  The children are kicked outside to enjoy the only freedom we have left, which happens to only extend to the yard.  

This quarantine has taught many lessons: 

1. Your hair does NOT have to be washed every day.

2. Any business regarding beauty is an essential business.

3. Easter, peanut butter eggs are not a source of protein.

4. Patience is a virtue.

5. Having your spouse ask, “What is for lunch/dinner?” is NOT the question to ask on a daily basis.

6. Coffee or alcohol can be consumed at any hour of the day, no judgments.

7. Toilet paper is essential.

I pray for all of you to remain safe and healthy.  Remember no matter what level of education, income or age all of us are experiencing/ suffering the same routine day after day.

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