I was nine-years-old when I first saw Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, and while I am sure I missed many of the jokes and themes that were in that movie then, the premise of the character’s main conflict was pretty easy for a young kid to follow. Immediately after walking out of the theater, I had the irrational fear that I too would wake up and be forced to relive the same day over and over again. This didn’t just last for a few weeks as most fears or nightmares do, but instead, this inevitable future stalked behind my childhood like a predatory beast patiently hunting its doomed prey.
Seriously, for the longest time, I was convinced that at some point in my life, I would be shackled to one recurring day that simply wouldn’t release me from its treacherous and villainous grasp. It was a weird fear to have as a kid, and I recognize that now, but nonetheless, each day I woke, I breathed a sigh of relief that Destiny had still not found me. Obviously, as I grew up, I recognized how silly this anxiety was, and I hadn’t thought about that movie for the longest time– until today.
My alarm clock went off, I reached for my computer, logged on to my school email to sign in for attendance, and then posted my lessons for remote learning. After that, I got ready for the day, which of course now consists of moving out of my nighttime pajamas and into my day pajamas, which will then likely be replaced at 4:00 by my exercising pajamas (shorts and a t-shirt). I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t in some sort of lounge attire, and I never thought I’d say this, but I wish I had a reason to put on some khakis and a button-up shirt. After trying to keep a routine and focus on hygiene, I went downstairs, ate breakfast, had my coffee, opened up my laptop to check my students’ work, and then prepped for the upcoming video classroom session I scheduled. I was, of course, terrified at the idea of Joey running into my office and screaming something embarrassing at my students. I made a mental note reminding myself to lock the door before I started the class. After I worked through that little scenario and waited for my students to join in, I had a profound thought. Crap! It’s happened. Groundhog Day has finally found me!
The struggle has been real in our household these past few weeks. It’s been the same day over and over again. It’s just like I had feared long ago.
One thing has been constant in my life since this quarantine started.
One simple truth.
My children are everywhere.
I’m convinced we have more than three and that the others hide in the attic trying to evade us and imminent eviction. There’s no way three boys can make this much noise. The thumps, screams, and howls echo throughout the house like a haunted mansion trying to rid the peaceful inhabitants who have invaded sacred space.
Everywhere I turn, there they are! Heck, the only reason I have the time to write this post is because I’m hiding in a dark basement corner hoping the kids won’t find me.
You know what else? They talk all the time!
Last night, before I went to bed, I snuck into Tommy’s room so that I could tuck him in again. When I reached over to pull the blankets up, he laughed demonically in his sleep, mumbled something I couldn’t understand, and then finally thrashed about like a fish out of water until he found a new sleeping spot. After falling backward and tripping over his stuffed dolphin, I nearly passed out from the horror of it all. Even when they sleep, they make noise!
When we eat though. That’s when it’s the worst.
For the love of everything good in this world, how? How do they have so much to talk about? We haven’t left the house except for walks or backyard time in nearly three weeks. I’m used to eating dinner with my boys every night, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day is a completely new experience. Every time I open my mouth to eat, they ask a question. I love their inquisitive nature and that they look to dad for the answers, but I need to refuel, fellas. I’m losing weight trying to keep up with you all.
And, can we talk about grammar school math? I know people joke about this a lot, but now more than ever I’ve been exposed to it. I can’t do it! I can’t. This is like my childhood experience with mathematics all over again. Please! Just let me carry over the numbers. When did this all get so fancy and multifaceted? I’d rather read Shakespeare!
This is life now. This is my Groundhog Day.
It’s the same thing. Every. Single. Day.
I had good intentions with this post. Really, I did. I was going to try and be like all the rest of social media parents and offer you up some ideas on how to keep the kids busy. How to keep them entertained during this trying time; however, it morphed into a reality post. We’re barely making it here. I’ve got a ton of respect for the people coming up with the mosaic window art their kids are creating and all the other neat projects, but that’s just not me. It’s not our family. My kids would break the window within five minutes of the activity. What exactly are we doing? Well, I’m teaching Teddy how to play pool, and he gets to stay up later these days for lessons. His combo and bank shots are coming along really well. Poker is next. Are they the best things to teach an eight-year-old? Meh, I don’t care. We’re just trying to survive and keep them off the iPads. I’m also proud to say I have yet to beat them in a nerf gun battle. Sure, it’s three against one, but they’re working and communicating together as a team. It’s a nice change of pace from the headlocks and elbow drops they usually gift out to each other. I guess I just needed to unite them against a common enemy– me. Here’s the truth of it all. It’s tough being home with the kids 100 percent of the time during this quarantine. It’s okay to admit that.
I’m not here to complain. That’s for sure. People are sick. People are dying. My family and I might be stressed and bored out of our minds, but we’re safe and healthy. That’s all I really want. Anytime I even think about complaining or feeling upset about this quarantine, I imagine what other people must be going through or even other scenarios in history that required far more sacrifice than what we’re giving today. I’d rather be stuck in my house than sleeping in the trenches of World War 1. What about being crammed into a boat hurtling its way towards the beaches of Normandy? The sweltering heat of Vietnam? Our time in history is difficult, no doubt, but it’s important to keep perspective. Be honest with yourself. Cut yourself some slack as a parent. I know in the beginning I was really worried that my kids would regress in school and that we wouldn’t be able to create rewarding and educational experiences at home. But again, at this point, we’re just trying to make it through this thing. It’s going to be messy. There have been tears and there will be more. Nonetheless, we’re there for each other and staying healthy. It’s the only thing I’m trying to keep in mind.
Tell us about your quarantine experiences with kids. Any funny stories to share? Do you have any good ideas other than shooting pool and playing poker? I’d love to hear them. I’m not very good at that stuff. I’m praying you all stay healthy and sane with those kiddos! Best of luck. We’ll get through this!