Today is the day that broke me.
The exact time was 2 p.m. But, now, isn’t it always 2 p.m.? It’s not quite time for a snack. Not time for a meal. Not time for a nap. Not the end of the normal school day. Not nearly the end of a normal work day.
It was a Wednesday. I had to check that it was Wednesday though because every day, even Saturday, feels like a Wednesday.
I think it’s been over three weeks since anyone went to school.
This is also when I felt broken after having a baby each time. The first time, I got hard-core baby blues and mastitis. On a Wednesday at 2 p.m., my mother-in-law found me desperately trying to pump out the infection with my Medela, shaking with chills, and beyond exhausted.
The second time, my older child was sent home from preschool after falling on her head and was crying and my baby was crying and my C-section scar was hurting and it was 2 p.m. on Wednesday and no one had napped.
Today, my husband gave me the “good news” that the bank had agreed not to make us pay our mortgage for the next three months. He was working on a separate loan in his office which would make it so he could still pay his employees (himself and me included) during the shutdown.
I got a call from our kids’ therapist’s office that even though I had chosen our insurance plan this year specifically because they told me the office was in-network, our insurance was not covering the specific provider we saw. It is April and they are telling me this now? How much do I owe? And when will they expect me to pay it? And how am I going to break it to my husband, who is working hard to cover everything, that I somehow failed to realize our insurance wasn’t going to cover the mental health care we received?
Today, my daughter—now a kindergartner—had to write a poem for “distance learning” and had to fill in the blanks. “I worry,” she wrote, her handwriting a mix of capital and lowercase letters, “about coronavirus.” I heard her sound it out, “C-O-R-O-N-A-V-I-R-U-S.” I checked her paper. She spelled “walk” “woc” and “about” “ubt” but she spelled “coronavirus” correctly.
My son, three, found me hiding in my bedroom and patted me on the arm. “What makes you sad?” He asked. I didn’t know how to answer. Finally, I sniffled, “It’s hard having everyone home all the time.”
“Well,” he said, sighing with a weariness of one much older than he, “are you going to be sad all day?”
But, I’ll fake it for you, kid.
I’m not fooling anyone. The gig is up. The kids know this isn’t the norm. They know Dad doesn’t usually hang out at home all day in his sweats. They know we usually leave the house. We are honest with them.
“Hey!” I call to my son who was wandering out, “Can I have a hug? I could use some love.”
He climbs onto my bed, wraps his pudgy arms around my neck, and kisses me, putting his face on my face.
“I’m hungry, Mama,” he whispers.
I’m up. Out of bed.
I don’t have to fake it. I can be honest.
It’s OK to be upset about all this, even though we are healthy.
At least I’m busy. I know being home with these tiny dictators can be exhausting beyond belief, but I think caring for them, entertaining them, and generally having their snuggly yet sometimes sticky presence in my life (and bed) is what’s keeping me from spiraling down the rabbit hole of internet news induced panic.
I may be broken today. Broken hearted. Broken spirited.
The kids, though, they like me anyway.