Thoughts of a Colorado mom writing to maintain sanity and intellectual activity in a home with one work-from-home husband, a college sophomore, and two teenagers.All questions welcome, no topic safe.
In Arches National Park
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Decorate the Lifeboats
"Life is a shipwreck,
But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.
Life is a desert, but we can transform our corner
Into a garden."
- Phrased by Peter Gay, summarizing Voltaire's "Candide"
Our family's COVID-19 "school" ship (scholarship?) broke upon the shoals of several outbreaks this week. The first crash hit when our high school alerted us to an outbreak of COVID among seniors who attended off-campus parties over the last two weekends. Due to the reckless behavior of these kids and the parents who allowed parties, 14 staff and 146 students are quarantined for two weeks and 1,585 students have had to move to remote learning for the same timeframe. While grateful that my boys are neither sick nor quarantined, I'm most thankful that my senior was not at one of those illicit parties. My kids will lose opportunities to learn, but they haven't taken away the opportunities of others.
Our poor boat took on more water at the next collision, which hit later last night when CU Boulder asked all students, on campus or off campus, to abide by a two-week stay-at-home order. Cases have risen sharply in Boulder, driven by (you guessed it) house parties off campus. I spent a long time texting with our daughter, who is re-shaping her already limited social exposure to abide by the guidelines. One of her roommates is going home (for two weeks or the duration, we don't know) and the other has tentatively planned to stay. They are only supposed to go out for medicine, food, solitary exercise, or class. My daughter has no classes in person so her outdoor activities will be few.
What do we do when the world comes crashing in like so much bitter saltwater, when the floor drops out beneath you and all plans have to be revamped to take into account the sinking ship? According to a friend, you decorate the lifeboats and hop on board. She wants twinkly lights on hers and I would add flowers, cats, and some bright paint to mine. We're going to be paddling our lifeboats for a while, so had better make them as uplifting and comfortable as possible while we sing our blues away.
I'm not surprised that our school ship sank, it lasted a week longer than I had anticipated. But we were just starting to hope that things might go our way, had enough confidence in the students (and parents) who followed the rules that I though "just maybe....". I know the teachers and administrators were in that same boat (sustained metaphor intended), which makes the sorry situation of off-campus parties even more bitter. And so we're off paddling in our flotilla of hastily decorated junks, singing loudly and off-key, hoping that the storm dies down soon.