I don’t have to wear shoes.

This time quarantined has been trying for everyone. Mike is even more overworked than normal, I’m trying to juggle the mom/hometeacher/chef/maid hats, and keeping Lucy on her vaccine schedule has been especially stressful. Anna is her typical goof-ball, wild child self and Arielle has thrown us through a few loops this month. It seemed the only one keeping their cool was Jacen. He’s been playing video games during his non-school hours.(shocking I know.) He was quiet, so I assumed that meant content.

Please never lose your silly, Anna.. but maybe use the fork with your fingers instead of your toes.

Turns out the person I worried about least, actually has the most to be stressed about. I’ve been incorporating some mental health material into Jacen’s home school work, and today was the first time he indicated any anxiety.  How could I have dropped the ball on this one? His WHOLE WORLD has been rocked. He doesn’t see his friends, misses his teachers and has had his whole routine thrown right out the window. He’s trying to learn on a platform he isn’t used to, and he doesn’t have the same relationship with me as he does his teachers. We are too close, and it can be hard to be an authoritarian enforcing school work instead of the “fun mom” going to museums and zoos. He may have been able to lay low in a classroom of 30 kids, but now he has mom watching right over his shoulder. One on one. It’s a totally different atmosphere, and I’ve been challenging him. He can’t breeze through assignments that are easy for him, then relax while his classmates take their time learning at a slower pace. He’s working hard at home, he’s being watched, and he isn’t getting the social break of seeing his peers. It’s a lot on a kid. 

He’s sad that his cousin’s first birthday party was cancelled, as well as our vacation that was planned for April. He’s disappointed we won’t be going to see family on Easter. He’s starting to realize that there are a lot of things we are missing out on, and I think it just sunk in today that school will not be reopening any time soon. 

Today he wrote, [I’m feeling] “anxious because sometimes I feel that someone in our family is going to get it.” This was certainly a conversation starter. We talked a bit about how dad is around people while working in retail, which is confusing for Jacen because he was under the impression EVERYONE had to stay home. He also brought up his Nana, someone he is used to seeing on a regular basis. They saw each other from an 8 foot distance for about 2 minutes this weekend. It was the first time they had seen eachother in a month, and it just wasn’t enough. Nana is a nurse, fighting to help people. That means she’s working closely with the virus, and we are all a little stressed about it. We share custody of his step-sister. Traveling between our house and mom’s has raised a lot of concern for all of us, but we are still trying to stick with the custody schedule as long as we can. Jacen told me today that he is terrified Arielle will catch the virus in transit. 

Those are just the people who aren’t able to stay home.

He got emotional talking about the friends and family he isn’t able to see right now, and just wants to give out a million hugs. Me too bud, me too.

Things were heavy. We were both crying, wishing things were different. I was afraid to keep reading, but the next question was “What is something you like about being home?”

“I don’t have to wear shoes.”

We both started laughing. It didn’t seem funny or silly when he wrote it, it was just the first thought that popped into his mind.. But boy did it make us laugh after such a serious conversation. 

Jacen is going to remember this time more than any of my other children. I know he will remember missing his friends, staying inside, and being afraid of the things that were being said on the news. I hope he also remembers the fun we are having together, the love, and that he could do his school work while barefoot. This time is hard for everyone, but please try to find the happy moments. Some days it might seem like they don’t exist, but I promise they do. 

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

Stay positive.

Don’t wear shoes.

Kate and Jacen.

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