Quarantine Update #2 (Or, Absence Makes the Heart…)

Dickens began A Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” That was week 2 of my family’s shelter-in-place. We spent the overwhelming majority of it inside, although we at times forced the kids outside in the form of wagon rides and chasing each other around the back yard. Admittedly, I lost it on them a few times, although to be perfectly fair, they’re being what they are: a 4-year-old and a 21-month-old. It dawned on me how much my wife and I don’t see when they’re at daycare, playing with friends (and getting in trouble). We get them when the day is coming to an end, when we’re fresh faces again, and go right to dinner, play, cartoons, and so on until baths and bedtime come around. The game changes considerably when it’s just us, and there’s nowhere we can take them to burn them out. This is by no means a surprise for those of you who are already at home with your littles all the time. Consider my eyes officially opened, and appreciative for those who have dealt with my kids at their best–and especially at their worst.

I’m not getting much reading done these days. I’m around the house all the time, and sitting with my kids while they watch Paw Patrol gives me plenty of opportunity, but I admit I find myself searching for more news, more mindless scrolling on social media. Maybe on one hand it puts me there with my friends, both nearby and virtual, together in suffering. On another, I recognize it’s not all that good for me, and I need to make a change.

I am, however, getting a smattering of writing done, continuing to add progress onto my current draft in small tidbits. Not nearly the 1-2000 words a night I was putting in during NaNo, but enough to feel good about. I’m being a little more methodical on this attempt, and at times this approach has flirted with that lack of confidence I’ve mentioned before: Where I don’t know what to write, and that surely means I’m not cut out for this stuff. Current circumstances have played more of a factor than I would probably admit at first glance. These are not easy times, and I’m thankful my kids aren’t quite old enough to realize what’s going on. I see the headlines, the arguments over the headlines, the bad news, the not-so-bad news…and then at the end of the night, I try to shake that all off and just write. It works more than it doesn’t, but all that other stuff has taken its toll at times, and will again.

Bottom line: I miss my routine: showing up for work each morning, picking up my kids when it’s done, getting them to bed with fresh energy to sit at my computer and work. All we can do is all we can do, and I’ll simply have to make the best of it because there is no other option.

I continue to pray for those affected by the pandemic, especially those on the front lines who still show up for work every day. Please take care of each other during this adventure!

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