Today is Tuesday. It’s hard to keep track. I confuse which days we need to do which Zoom meetings. Last week, we missed a morning gymnastics Zoom. Today, we missed Dom’s class Zoom. This is one of my biggest struggles recently: tracking my kids’ online appointments. It’s an odd problem to have. I keep track of my own Zooms okay: with college buddies, writers’ group (above), virtual game nights, and family.
Since my last post, we experienced another big aftershock. It happened the next morning, around 7:40, as I was slowly waking up. Dom was in the family room playing Minecraft on the family computer. Gabbi was still in bed. When it hit, it rumbled for six seconds, shaking the bed, creaking the wood in the structure of the house. I checked the camera, expecting Gabbi to be crying. She simply put the pillow over her head, then after the shaking stop, curled back up with her stuffies.
Dom came in. “Mom what was that?” he asked.
“Another aftershock,” I said, forcing my tone to be upbeat. “A big one, huh? Pretty good.” I offered him an impressive smile.
“Yeah,” he said. “Shook my chair.”
I waited for him to sound scared. He shrugged his shoulders and went back to his Minecraft.
I was definitely awake for the day now, my heart rate elevated. I took some deep breaths. They didn’t seem to help. I got up and got moving. After getting breakfast for the kids, I put on some workout clothes and spent an hour lifting weights and breaking a sweat. That calmed my anxiety and I could focus on the day ahead: Dom’s schooling, Gabbi’s preschooling, my working, Nathan’s working; a house full of a family on their screens.
We would take a break, mid-day, to leave the house and drive to Muir Elementary School. We picked up our two free school lunches there. The lunch ladies wore masks. One of them clearly crocheted her own. It was pink.
Today, we are in the “orange” phase. Utah has their plan fairly well outlined. We moved out of the red phase at the end of April. In April, you couldn’t go inside Swig. I haven’t been yet this month, but perhaps the lobby is now open…?
They now allow businesses to open up as long as they can do so with social distancing, strict cleaning, and strongly-encouraged masks. I went to the store last Saturday for groceries and less people wore masks. They care less now in Davis County. Maybe Salt Lake is better. I wore my mask. The Smith’s felt crowded. It may have been my own bias, but it seemed the maskless people were cavalier with social distancing as well. I tried to keep my space. I also tried to smile at people with my eyes. There’s a distinct divide felt out in public, but also a feeling of missed connections.
I’ve found a lot of reward in my job lately. It feels good to be both challenged and competent. I finished documenting how to integrate our business product, OpenVPN Access Server, with Google’s GSuite Enterprise using Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). I know, it’s all this techie stuff, which is why I felt both challenged and competent. Documenting the steps meant doing them myself and included setting up an LDAP client in Google, download a certificate and key, uploading those to my Linux server in AWS, and configuring the rest of the connection. Once I had it all done, I could test by logging in to my VPN with a user that had credentials set up from the GSuite account. Success. I then passed of my documentation to one of our tech gurus, who happens to be in the Netherlands, and he sent it back with a few small typos and notes. I basically got it right. I know how to do my job. I felt validated.
And then I tried to parent my kids. They ignored me. They fought. They acted like kids. And I felt not-so validated. Ah, how humbling parenting can be.
This morning, Gabbi said, “I don’t want to make any bad choices because I love Jesus.”
With all of this home schooling and upside-down living during this pandemic, I hope my kids learn one thing: kindness.