Making adjustments together

You just cannot make this stuff up. Up until recently, I had thought I was pretty good at adapting to rapid changes, even fairly adept at learning on the fly. Apparently I have quite a bit of room for improvement. Simply comparing today to even the not so recent past seems not just like comparing apples and oranges, but apples and elephants.

One month ago, the biggest thing on our minds was whether we would be able to locate sufficient quantities of toilet paper. The kids were out on Spring Break, wishing that it would last forever. They had no clue that they wouldn’t be seeing each other in person for the foreseeable future. In the weeks that followed, we parents became homeschool teachers, and professional teachers became Zoom experts and online educators. I have to admit, our “back to school” week with Mrs. Thornhill was actually rather fun. The kiddos agreed to start learning Russian (and did surprisingly well), we did simultaneous PE (walking through the woods), Creative Writing (passing a notebook between us and writing a story sentence by sentence, in twenty-foot distances), and Native Plant Identification (looking for any early morel mushrooms). We did Impromptu Brushless Art with some half petrified paint and yard objects. Even the cotton ball launcher we made as a STEM project got plenty of laughs. It seems like ages ago. The early practices for swim team are canceled now too, casting doubt on whether there will be a summer swim season.

A little over six months ago, we were debating whether 40 degrees at night was really cold enough to light the woodburning furnace. Now, here we are, the week after Easter, with forecasted lows in the 20s and 30s. Firewood isn’t the only wood we’re pulling in, literally. The weather got nice, Darling Hubby got the gardening itch, and bought us an apple tree. I must admit, an apple sapling in full bloom is a rather pleasant thing to have in one’s sunroom, but I can’t wait for it to be happy outside. Of course, the hailstorm the other day would have probably beaten it to shreds, so at least we can shelter it while we enjoy the fragrance.

By this time last year, Darling Daughter had had her first three track meets. I think Hillsboro was probably the most memorable…constant cold drizzle in the afternoon, cold wind into the evening. Whatever my sports-mom idea was of track meets, that was definitely not it. To this day, I have not gone to any of her meets after that without spare shoes and dry socks. Of course, at this time last year, the monsoon had started. I’d be lying if I said it hurt my feelings that it’s dryer this year. She and I were really looking forward to it this year since she planned to start pole vaulting. Sigh.

Also last year, we were halfway through “hell month,” where we attended a TaeKwonDo tournament every weekend. We were trying to accumulate championship points and qualify for District competition. We’re qualified for Districts this year, and didn’t go crazy planning competitions this month, but even the one that was planned is canceled. It’s anyone’s guess whether Districts will be held, and even World Championships will be either delayed or canceled. We’re going a little crazy trying to practice on gravel and rocks instead of nice even mats, but it’s a good learning experience. And, I suppose, it helped prepare us for now. We’re used to spending a lot of time in close quarters with each other, be it in the car or hotel rooms. Most of the time we don’t get on each other’s nerves too much. It really helps in times like this, times I never considered preparing for.

I think what I’m having the hardest time getting my mind around is the time flow. Every day seems to drag on forever, but even yesterday seems like a week ago. Last week might as well be months away. Last month feels like years ago. Even the future is skewed. Two weeks until the end of the month, but that seems like years if indeed it comes at all. Shopping trips have become furtive, darting forays, any pleasure in browsing cut short by suspicious glances, even glares from people who are sure that you’re a disease vector that will surely slaughter their sainted grandma. Media is busy screaming worst-case scenarios, anything from permanent lockdown to mass death. Stress and gloom, enough to drown you if you let it.

So I sit here and look at this apple sapling, blooming its little heart out. It’s not where it thought it would be or indeed NEEDS to be either. Soon, it will go outside in the sunshine. Soon, it will feel unpotted soil between its roots and soak in gentle rains. Soon too, we will go outside and breathe fresh air and feel sunlight, and all will be as it should be. Maybe not as it was, as such, but as it should be. And we will bear fruit. Be sure and get your fresh air, folks. We’ll get through this together.

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