One of the greatest challenges for me of this pandemic and resulting quarantine has been the loss of a predictable routine and schedule. To our credit, we have finally created a passable routine, especially if you compare it to the mayhem that ensued in the first few weeks of the lockdown. However it is still a very poor cousin to the creme de la creme schedule that once prevailed at our home, pre-pandemic. That schedule was hard-fought and the planning that went it to it paralleled that of carrying out a Special Forces military operation. My website isn't called Spreadsheetmom for nothing.
On Friday, March 13th, that schedule and all the work that went into creating, vanished in a matter of hours. I now have a patchwork of lists and spreadsheets reminding me of what to do every day. The predictability of the past is gone and in its place is managed chaos.
To their credit, each of the kids' teachers has established fairly predictable schedules for their homeschooling, if I can remember to look at all the emails, print out the piles of assignments, and manage to get on the Zoom meetings on time or at all. Every day, it seems, things slip through the cracks, like never before. Each slip fills me with shame and feels like a stinging slap to the face of Mommy Guilt. Am I the only mom who forgot this meeting, assignment, art project, deadline, test? I ask myself this multiple times a day.
This morning we had a huge slip. Graham and Catherine's school had planned an incredible parade for the kids, going through all the neighborhoods that surround the school, including ours, Hidden Hills. We received multiple reminders from the principal, Mrs. Brock, this week. Both Graham and Catherine's teachers brought it up in their Zoom meetings yesterday. Their teachers even gave them the morning off from their meetings so they could attend the parade. And yet, I forgot. We forgot. It was unthinkable.
I was sick yesterday, which threw off not only yesterday but today as well. Much of what happens on a particular day in this quarantine chaos is planned the day prior. I have to be fully briefed from the kids, check all incoming emails from teachers multiple times, and be armed with an updated spreadsheet daily if our days are going to go off without any schedule slip-ups. I did none of that yesterday so today we are paid the piper, bigtime.
The catastrophic screw-up occurred to me this morning when I was upstairs about to get into the shower. I was thinking about my spreadsheets and how they needed to be updated with the latest meeting changes, new events, etc.. As soon as the spreadsheets entered my mind so did the missed parade. I froze in my tracks and felt a tidal wave of guilt envelop me. The kids have not seen their teachers or any of their friends in months and this was going to be the one opportunity to do that (from a distance, of course), before school ends in just a matter of weeks. How could I have forgotten? What kind of mother forgets something that important?
My mind immediately jumped to stories I have read about and heard on television about children being left in hot cars and other such tragic events. In every instance, a change of routine is brought up as the primary cause. Usually it is a busy parent of multiple kids and somehow on that day things were different and that's where everything went wrong. They had the child with them in the car at a time when they usually don't or they went someplace that they don't usually go at a time that was out of the ordinary.
I cannot begin to know the pain these parents feel at the loss of a child under such circumstances, but COVID-19 has helped me to better understand how even the most well-meaning parent can get thrown off by the loss of routine. We have missed virtual scavenger hunts, important tests, countless Zoom meetings and so much else. Ironically, many were even on my highlighted spreadsheets, and yet I still forgot. We all forgot.
As I was writing this morning at my desk, I was yelling to another room to the kids, re-reminding them of the Zoom meeting that I had already reminded them of ten minutes prior. Miles ended up being was ten minutes late for a Zoom meeting because first Catherine couldn't get the internet to work on the computer. Garin, our tech wizard then stepped in and switched the computer out only to find the other computer wasn't charged. Then Garin logged into the wrong school account thinking it was a Zoom meeting for Catherine's school, rather than for Miles'. He finally announced they were on successfully and that it was PJ day at Miles school. PJ day, where was that written? Dumb luck for Mommy - Miles was still in his PJ's since he never changes. I dodged that bullet.
Catherine and Miles on his PJ Day Zoom meeting.
Taking a little school break to hang from a tree.
Miles and Graham exploring the hillside to see what treasures they could find.
My Girl Friday, Catherine, in full COVID-19 compliance, out with me at Bristol Farms picking up a few items we needed for dinner.
It's amazing how just a little outing to a grocery store can make a girl and her Mommy's day.
Union Jack PJs and a santa hat. A typical quarantine getup for Miles.
What's so unusual about paling around your garden in santa hats in late May when it's 75 degrees?
Pre-dinner pool time.
Pickled beets and onions getting ready to go in the refrigerator to do their magic.
Dinner: Roasted cauliflower soup made with homemade chicken stock and topped with chopped parsley and scallions. La Brea Bakery roasted garlic bread and cold watermelon slices on the side.
Enjoing dinner on a warm night with the sound of the fountain nearby.
Garin and Fitzy goofing around before bedtime.