In Quarantine with a Child

Ya’ll. This shit is bonkers.

How many of us are indefinitely stuck inside with our children? I don’t know what the rules are in different states, but in Oregon, even the playgrounds are closed due to COVID-19. Not that we could go outside if we wanted to, because it’s also pouring down rain.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter, more than anything. But I was not cut out to be a stay at home mom. This is coming from someone WHO USED TO BE A STAY AT HOME MOM. But what do you do with your kids all day when you can’t even go outside? We read books. We played games. We made bracelets. We watched tv. We started a 1000 piece puzzle (well, I did. She did a few of her own, smaller puzzles). Still, boredom. We haven’t started any kind of homeschooling yet, because I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around it.

How do we keep ourselves from wanting to pull our hair out at the end of the day? Because, dear reader, in case you were wondering how well the day ended, my darling 7-year-old daughter said she was done with me, as she stormed into her room to read by herself.

What. The. Fuck.

The (temporarily) unemployed single mom

Well everyone, this last Friday, my boss pulled me into her office, and motioned for me to close the door. My first thought was, what am I in trouble for now? I sat down and waited as she took a deep breath, and said, after the end of the day today, we’re closing our doors until at least May.

Fuck.

I started tearing up, which is definitely not the reaction I thought I’d have, since I don’t particularly like my job. But I’m a single mom. What am I supposed to do for money? How am I supposed to take care of my daughter. I filed for unemployment, but it’s not likely I’ll get very much money- if I even filled out the application right.

I work in childcare, and I babysit for a lot of the families outside of work. I already had a couple tell me that, in the event of a closure, I could still watch their kiddos as a way to make some extra money. However, one of those kids, her parents are both doctors. They said they’d pay me a weekly salary, and my first thought was, great! And then I weighed in the factors. Folks in the medical profession are on the front lines during all of this COVID-19 outbreak. Meaning, they’re at a high risk of exposure. Meaning, if I was consistently in the home of two doctors, I am also at high risk exposure. My daughter would also be at a high risk of exposure. Everyone around us would then be at a high risk of exposure. So that was a no-go. A second family approached me to watch their daughter as well. Both of these parents have been working from home since the beginning of March, and pulled their kid out of childcare a couple of weeks before shit started to really hit the fan. This seemed like much safer of an option. They have limited contact with people, and my daughter and I also have limited contact. It would only be a couple days a week, and every dollar counts at this point.

But then, as of today, March 23, a shelter-in-place order was set in the state of Oregon, where I live. I cannot even take my daughter to the park right now, let alone watch someone else’s kid. So now I have to hope and pray that unemployment will be enough to hold us over in the meantime. I’m very lucky that I rent a basement apartment in my aunt’s house, so my rent is ridiculously cheap. Who knows when I’ll get to see my family and friends again. This is all so, so surreal.

So, if anyone knows of some ways to make money from home, please, let me know!

Kobe

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m a huge Kobe Bryant fan, or even a huge basketball fan for that matter. But I saw a post on Instagram today that really got me. It read,

“Leaving your home and getting back safely is such an underrated blessing.”

Kobe Bryant got on his helicopter today, along with his 13 year old daughter, and a group of other people who also had families to get home to. They all thought they’d be seeing their families later today. They all thought they’d be getting home safely, because I’m sure they had flown hundreds of times, right?

When any of us walks out of our front door every morning, anything could happen. You can be driving along, obeying every single traffic law. But that doesn’t mean that someone else is going to do the same. It doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t running late, so they run that red light. It doesn’t mean that someone else didn’t get behind the wheel, even though they were intoxicated. It doesn’t mean that another person won’t take their eyes off of the road, just for a second, to see who just text them.

We’re currently living in a world where senseless acts of violence take place almost every day. We’re living in a time where school shootings aren’t even that surprising to hear about. Devastating, yes. But surprising? Not so much. And it’s not even just school shootings. Shootings in movie theaters, at concerts, in shopping markets.

How many people, really, walk out of their house and think to themselves, today is gonna be the day I die by the hand of another human being.

I get that the helicopter crash wasn’t something that someone else did. Freak accidents happen. But still.

You really just never fucking know.

I Can’t Breathe

There are papers scattered on my coffee table. More on the dining room table. The dishes in the dishwasher need to be put away. The laundry from last week needs to be put away, too. That is, before I start doing this week’s laundry.

I need to clean. I need to do the laundry. I need to put the dishes away. I have homework to do. A project to work on. Groceries to buy.

It’s too much. My chest is tight. My heart is racing. I feel like I can’t breathe.

This hasn’t happened in a while. I don’t mean the mess, but I mean my anxiety. I’ve been feeling so much better lately. I’ve stayed focused on what’s important. I haven’t been letting the little things get to me.

But as I sit on my couch, typing this, I stare at the papers on the table, and I can’t bring myself to get up and move them. It’s as if once I start cleaning, even just a little, I won’t be able to stop. But it’s late. It’s 10:35pm. Too late to start cleaning my whole house. But my other option is to stew. To worry about how much I have to do tomorrow.

Why is this hitting me now? Is it because the holidays are coming up? Because the dosage of my medication got cut in half? I think it’s more the holidays than it is the meds. Or maybe the higher dosage was doing more than I thought it was. I thought I was in control, but maybe I wasn’t.

You Were Gone Before I Could Make You Proud

You should still be here. I remember, a few months before you passed away, you made a joke about how you were dying. I didn’t think much of it; you said stuff like that all the time. We both did, actually. I told you that you had to live long enough to see me graduate from college, and you told me you hoped you would. That you would love to be alive to see that. I’ll be the first of your kids to do so, and actually, the first person on your entire side of the family. Me. I wish you were here to see it.

I’m going to apply to graduate school, too. I never got to talk to you about that. I wonder what you would have thought. Would you be proud? I feel like you would be. I hope so, anyway.

Sometimes, for split seconds, I forget you’re not here. Even now, I’ll think to myself that I should call you and ask you something. What was all the stuff you put in your spaghetti sauce? Why did you and mom get married in Vancouver, and not in Portland? Why were we handing out candy at Aunt Teri and Uncle Frenchie’s house one year on halloween? Did you dress up as the grim reaper, or did I make that up in my head? I know you’d remember. You remembered everything.

Lily misses you a lot. She wrote you a letter today. She asked me if she could send it to heaven, and I didn’t know what to say. In the letter, there was a picture of her crying, and a picture of you saying goodbye. It said, “If you want to go, I’ll be so lonely. I love you, come back.” I hope she remembers you when she gets older. You were such a great Papa, I don’t want her to forget that. I don’t want her to forget you.

I miss you. We all miss you.

Is this forever?

Is this how I’m always going to feel? Like there’s a weight on my chest and I can’t breathe? Like I’m never going to be completely happy ever again?

I’m overcome with sadness and exhaustion. I didn’t want to get out of bed today. I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to sleep and forget any of this was happening.

I wanted to forget that you’re not here. I wanted to forget that I’ll never hear your voice again. Never see you. Never talk to you. I wanted to forget that you’re gone, but it’s all I think about. I miss you. So, so much.

They say that time makes it better, but it’s been two weeks and it’s just gotten worse. I get that two weeks isn’t a long time. But it also feels like it has been a lifetime. I’m living a different life without you here. But it’s not the same, and it’s definitely not better. I hate it. I hate this. I’d give anything to go back. I’d give anything to have you back.

Why do we always wait?

So many things on my mind today. Like the fact that, earlier, I realized I recycled all of the cards my dad ever gave to me. Every single birthday card I had from him was tossed a couple months ago. And I know exactly what happened. I remember what I was thinking. I was thinking, why do I keep all of these? I was thinking that I’d get another card from him this year. In a couple months, when my birthday is. And now I have nothing. I have nothing with my dads handwriting on it. It’s all gone.

Tonight, we’re gathering together to celebrate his life. My whole family, and a lot of our friends are going out to the bar that my dad always went to, where the bartenders and a majority of the patrons knew my father before I was even born. And it’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t want to go out to celebrate my father’s life, because I don’t want to acknowledge the fact that he’s gone. I hate that that’s the reason we’re doing this tonight. I hate the fact that he’s not here. And at some point, I’m going to have to start acting like things are ‘going back to normal’. But nothing about this is normal. Nothing will ever be normal again. Not without my dad.

Why do we wait until the people we love have passed to celebrate them? All of the good things people have been saying about my dad this last week? Why didn’t anyone every say any of those things to his face? Why didn’t I ever tell him how much he meant to me? Why didn’t any of us? Why do we treat people like they’re going to be around forever?

I Miss You…

The only reason I can’t say for sure that I don’t believe in God is because I want to believe that the people I love, who I’ve lost, are in a better place now than they were before they passed.

Yesterday I sat with my father, and watched and listened as he took his last breath.

Have you ever watched someone dying? Have you ever seen what it looks like when someone is breathing, but they’re not responsive? Do you know what it sounds like?

It looks like their chest moving up and down. Sometimes his eyes would flicker open, and others it looked like he was blinking with his eyes closed. He’d move his tongue in his mouth, like maybe he wanted to tell us something. There were quite a few times where he’d breathe in, breathe out, and stop breathing for what felt like a life time, only to gasp for air at the last minute. Almost like he was holding his breath, trying to let go, trying to leave this world, but couldn’t fight the feeling any longer, and he had to breathe in.

Until he didn’t anymore. And he was gone.

I’ve pictured the moment so many times in my head, what it would be like when my father passed away. I imagined being at work, and getting a call from my brother that our dad wasn’t with us anymore. There was no scenario where I pictured I’d be sitting with him the entire time, with my two big brothers, my little sister, and our whole family surrounding us. But that was the best way it could have happened. My dad loved his family more than anything.

I’m lucky in the way that I have no regrets about my relationship with my father. He and I were very close. I can say for sure that I did everything I could to help him whenever he needed it, and I always told him I loved him and that I missed him. I spent as much time with him as I could, whenever I could. The last time I saw him, when he was still awake and alert, I kissed him on the cheek, told him I loved him, and that I’d see him tomorrow. Which I guess I did, but not in the way I thought I would.

A day and a half later, I keep having to remind myself that he’s gone. I look at pictures of him and it doesn’t seem real.

I am completely uninterested in living in a world without my father. Not in a way like I’m going to hurt myself or anything like that, but in a way that it feels empty. There will always be something missing. My father will always be missing. How am I supposed to move on and act like things are normal after this? Nothing will be normal after this, ever again.

I hate this. More than anything. I hate this so much. I’d give anything to have him back. If I had known that our last good day with him was going to be our last good day, I would have paid more attention. I would have committed every last detail to memory. I’d listen to his laugh, the sound of his voice. I’d pay extra attention to his light blue eyes, and the way he smiled at me when he told me he loved me.

Oh God, Daddy, I miss you.

What am I supposed to do without my dad?

Confessions of an anxiety-ridden, stressed out single mom

Here’s what’s going on today, my friends.

I met this guy. I’ve gone out with him a few times, and we have a lot of fun together. He makes me laugh in a way that very few people can, he’s attractive, polite, smart, dedicated, and hard working. And then today I found myself incredibly irritated with him. I didn’t want to talk to him like, at all. Why? Who knows. I was grumpy, so I’m not sure if I was irritated because I was grumpy, or because he was being irritating. Maybe I’ll feel better about him tomorrow. I’m sure I will. Or I won’t, because I only like guys who aren’t actually available.

Secondly, my daughter went into full meltdown mode as soon as we got home tonight. We had gone to my brother’s house for dinner, and as soon as we walked through our front door, she as demanding snack. Stomping her foot, raising her voice, throwing herself on her bed because I was NOT about to give in. So what did I do? Tell her she couldn’t go to gymnastics on Tuesday, which got me the reaction I wanted from her, which was to be overly apologetic. Was this the right way to handle the situation? I have absolutely no idea. I pay for her to go to gymnastics. Should I be able to not allow her to go? I mean, I’m technically able. But is that the move I should make. I’m still sitting on it. But right now, she at least thinks that she’s not going to gymnastics, so I’ll call it a win.

Secondly, my daughter has only lost one tooth, but has a second tooth that is very, very loose. However, her second permanent tooth is already growing in behind the very loose tooth. Which I’m told (not by a dentist or anything, mind you), means that she will, one day, have to get braces. Have I consulted a professional about this? No. Am I going to stress out about it anyway? Duh. Braces are expensive. I’m worrying about spending money on something in the far out future. I’m worried about spending money on something that I don’t even know for sure I’ll have to spend money on. I’m worried about my 6 year old daughter having to get braces in, what? 5 years?

I’m pretty sure I forgot to take my anxiety meds today.

Social Media, Dating, and Anxiety

Okay, so I know I’ve talked about the struggle with dating, and the struggles I have with my anxiety. But let me just tell you about dating in the era of social media.

It. Is. The. Worst.

Dating is rough enough as it is. I sometimes feel like I literally have no time for it. But when I find someone I actually do like talking to, someone that I will make time for, it’s great.

Until the freaking internet gets involved.

You haven’t heard from the person. You figure they’re busy, working or running errands. So you start browsing Facebook, only to see that they’re online.

Cue the questions, the scenarios, the negative thoughts that the anxiety is rushing to your brain.

Are they ignoring you? Did you say something wrong? Were you too forward? Did they just decide they didn’t want to talk to you anymore? They read your message, why didn’t they respond??

It’s even worse if you happened to meet that person on a dating website, and you can see that, while they’re still not texting back, they’re online. Chatting up other girls. Finding people who are far more interesting to talk to than you are.

I’m not saying anybody is doing anything wrong in this situation. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re dating, right? Talk to and go out with a few different people in hopes of finding the right one? If I’m being completely honest, I do the exact same thing. I’ll start talking to one guy, then I might start a conversation with another. Eventually, I find myself talking to one more than the other, and then the conversation with the guy I’m talking to less eventually fades out. Granted, most of them are guys I never get the chance to actually meet. As a single mom, the majority of guys I go out with are guys that I met online. But the online aspect is what keeps me from holding myself accountable. Since I’ve never met them in person, I feel like I don’t owe them any type of explanation when I decide not to text them back. I tell myself, it wasn’t going to go anywhere or amount to anything anyway, so what’s the point?

I’m not a bad person. But it’s not fair to use the internet as an excuse to not be honest with people. Blowing somebody off is easier than rejecting them, but it’s such a shitty thing to do to someone. Nobody deserves to have to question themselves, and ask why they’re not good enough for another person.

I really believe that my generation is one of the most accepting, caring, and loving generations in history. We’re all about kindness, self-love, self-care, consent. For the most part, we think before we speak. We choose our actions wisely. We want to save the planet, and the sea turtles. We listen to people’s stories, and we believe them, and encourage them. We tell people how brave they are for speaking out about past traumatic events.

But, we’re also the generation that invented ghosting. With things like Tinder, we turned dating into the most superficial thing imaginable. We hardly even give people a chance anymore, if they don’t meet our physical expectations. We’re constantly competing for other peoples’ attention, yet love the feeling of other people competing for ours.

So how great are we, really??