We played a fun game tonight—Not Parent Approved–which I ordered from Amazon a few days ago. It’s basically a family-friendly version of Cards Against Humanity. It was good to laugh and think about things other than coronavirus.

Otherwise today was kind of a wash. I think we were all still reeling from the announcement yesterday that school will be closed for the rest of the school year. We have plenty of things to do, but seem to be searching for motivation and focus. I had to work and we hadn’t gotten the kids’ days organized so not much happened. Then in the afternoon I got a migraine and I slept. By nighttime I had removed the screen time restrictions from Zoe’s phone.

In my attempt to wrap my head around “the new normal,” a phrase which fills me with sadness, I sat down with the kids and created a new plan. Instead of having a schedule where we do certain activities at particular times, or even in a specific order, we’re going to choose one item from each of five categories. Of course we can do more than these, and probably sometimes we won’t do all of them, but hopefully this will seem like a manageable daily routine. And hopefully if the kids are able to plan out their choices every morning I will be better able to carve out time for not only my work but also my mental health.

This week I’ve made the time to talk with a few friends, either by phone or in small groups using zoom. That has been hugely helpful, even though a lot of the conversation is all of us saying to each other, “yeah, me too” and “yeah, it’s really hard.”

Zoe came up with the idea to create care packages for her friends and their families and enlisted my help. I am super proud of her thoughtfulness.

We didn’t manage to take any walks or hikes yesterday or today, which I’m sure contributed to our collective funk. Yesterday it was raining and Arlington announced its parks were closed. I wasn’t sure if we would be rounded up by police if we went for a hike. Today the county clarified that trails are open if social distancing is maintained. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow but if there’s a break in the clouds I will try to hustle us out the door. I’m already vitamin D deficient.

I read a couple helpful articles today. One was about how parents need to cut themselves all kinds of slack in trying to attempt the home school thing. My sense of guilt has all but evaporated by now because of all the other thoughts and feelings competing for space in my brain. And I fully recognize how privileged our family is that we don’t have to worry about our kids falling seriously behind. Also I keep reading posts from educators reminding us that everyone is in the same boat.

The other helpful article was about grief. The author who is carrying on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ work writing about the stages of grief reminded us that we are grieving for everything we’ve lost already and the unknowns that we may lose in the future, including loved ones and livelihoods. This is no small thing. And it’s hard to make space for grieving when it seems so amorphous and we have so much new responsibility.