Week 5

19 Apr

Well, we made it through another week.

I’ve written before about things going relatively well here. That continues to be the case, and I feel so darn lucky.

Mike was one of the few who managed to get a Paycheck Protection Program loan. This is a loan from the Small Business Administration intended to help businesses keep their people on the payroll. Essentially, it’s to artificially deflate the unemployment numbers (if we pay business to pay people, those workers aren’t unemployed. Voila!). He’s got cash now to keep his people on the books through July, without us having to pay them out of our own pocket. And his work hasn’t entirely dried up, it’s just slowed a lot. Normally he’d be making a ton of videos to show at events, or videos of events, and that’s obviously not happening.

Mike and Michaela were hard at work this week building a treehouse. When we moved here, there was a rotting platform in a tree in the backyard that clearly had been a treehouse at some point. Michaela’s been asking for nearly two years now for Mike to rebuild it, and it’s finally happening. Michaela has helped and she is thrilled. I went up in it yesterday but it’s really not my bag. I have visions of her falling out of it (in spite of the lattice Mike put around it to enclose it), but I’m trying not to worry too much.

I had my first major heartbreak of quarantine this week. (And let me acknowledge that there are people with way bigger heartbreaks, what with death and illness and isolation.)

Michaela’s best friend C is a super sweet little girl. They are thick as thieves. They’re in the same class this year, so they normally see each other each day and hang out any chance they get in school. They’ve had Zoom chats, but C’s parents are a lot more controlling of screen time than we are. Where Michaela’s had her own tablet for years and years and years, C doesn’t have any sort of device of her own. All communication and planning must go through C’s parents; she has no independent ability to communicate (whereas Michaela has Messenger Kids and Google Hangout and her own email account).

On Wednesday, I reached out to C’s mom to see if she could Zoom with Michaela. Mom said C was burned out from a full day of distance learning, which isn’t going so well in their house, and would it be okay to Zoom the next day.

Poor Michaela lost it. She started crying and was distraught. She said she felt so bad for C and that it had been a month since they were able to see each other in person. It made me so sad to see her hurting like that. Especially because she was so torn up over her friend feeling bad and not being able to help.

Michaela and C Zoomed the next day, but only for an hour. And when they were done, Michaela was sad again. This time, she was more focused on her own loss (loss of time with her best friend). That night, when I tucked her in, we did some brainstorming about things that might be good substitutes for physical contact, that didn’t involve technology since C is limited, and came up with the idea of giving C a virtual hug. So yesterday I traced Michaela’s upper body. Arms outstretched, hands turned up, as if giving a hug. She’s spent some time coloring it to look like herself yesterday and today she’ll cut it out and put the finishing touches on it. We’ll drop it off on C’s porch and hopefully it will help them feel a little closer.

If you’d asked me a month ago what would be hard about quarantine, I would not have put my finger on mismatched parental attitudes about technology. But it’s really been one of the hardest things here in our household. Michaela’s been social (through tech) with other friends, and she spends a lot of time videochatting with Nana (Mike’s mom), but it’s just not the same as having your bestie there. So one of my projects for this week is to reach out to C’s mom for a discussion about trying to bridge the gap. I feel like even if we could have a regular calendar for their chats, it would give Michaela some sense of stability and routine, in the same way she knew she would see C at school every day.

Anyway, that’s the latest from here. How’s quarantine treating you?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.