The Adventures Of Fatherhood – May 1, 2020

With lots of time to think these days, I am wondering if pre-virus life with my children will ever return. It’s going to be tough to embrace after all this isolation and simplicity.

Of course, there may be no choice here, as it’s going to be sometime before life begins to take on whatever this new normal will be for all of us.

Throughout the last seven weeks, I have been reminded daily of what I would normally be doing if life had not come to a screeching halt in mid-March. To stay organized, I live by my Outlook calendar through reminders throughout the day.

For example, I realized one Friday recently how different life is now. After dropping the kids off at school, according to my Outlook calendar, I would have attended back-to-back meetings for a volunteer position, followed by a lunch meeting, after-school pickups and then a trip to Pennsylvania for a weekend soccer tournament. Because of the shutdown, I dismissed all those reminders on my phone while stumbling through homeschooling my boys. I manage Fridays at home to give Pam a little break from her four straight days. It’s the least I can do.

There was another day when I had a day full of work with appointments mixed in for a haircut, speech therapy and soccer practice. There was also a reminder to “pay bills,” which I decided to snooze for a day.

I do not miss the running around constantly to meetings, before and school pickups, therapies, sports and work and volunteer commitments. In some ways, life amid the COVID-19 shutdown has been embraced for its simplicity. The focus is on family and work as well as finances. The same physical disruptions and distractions are paused, but there has been a whole new level of stress during this time of our lives.

The anxiety and pressure have everything to do with the uncertainty of life. I think my kids realize it and maybe even understand it. We shield them from our main concerns about continuing to make a living amid this dark time of economic turmoil. They don’t need to be informed on those worries. They also don’t need to hear from us about how much homeschooling is the pits and the pressure we feel to keep them on a productive track throughout this ordeal. Nonetheless, it would be foolish of us not to realize the kids’ lives have been turned completely upside down.

For the first couple weeks, homeschool was cool, but lately it has turned to an attitude of toleration.

I think it still is embraced by Carson because school is difficult for him. Home is his safe zone and his comfort level is high. However, we know major problems will lie ahead whenever we go back to school. We are assuming, like most, there will be no school this spring. If school is called back into session for a couple weeks in June, we have serious concerns what they will look like for our fourth grader. It’s going to be an incredible challenge to readjust and it might be best for him to start fresh in September.

For Beckett, the workload is real. At this point, he is missing the social aspects of school. The curriculum and assignments have continued for him without interruption. The big difference for him is the social distancing aspect of not being able to see his friends at school and at sports practices. We can see it’s taking a toll on him, but he clearly still enjoys being able to sleep in and not wear a uniform each day.

If normalcy ever returns, I am looking to continuing the simplicity that has come from staying at home. I have no interest in jumping back into the rat race of bouncing from one meeting to the next and running all over the place toting one kid to this and another to that. I will seek a middle ground. Fortunately, I think that’s going to be the case for some time as we all gradually adjust to whatever the new normal in our lives will be.

On a recent Saturday morning, I woke up wanting to go for a family walk.

Cabin fever was setting in and I realized thanks to the weather and homeschooling the kids hadn’t left the property in over a week.

About 20 steps into the walk, I realized I should have just gotten some exercise alone while everyone was still asleep.

Between our differing ideas of what pace a walk should have, Carson wanting to pick flowers for his mom at every stop sign and Beckett practicing jump 360s in intersections in front of vehicles, there was a lot of correcting (criticizing).

The whole point was to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise together. All that was accomplished, but I wouldn’t call it an enjoyable mile-plus walk.

At one point, we decided to divide and conquer. I took Carson and we walked on the railroad tracks while Beckett and Pam took a more direct route home.

Carson was intent on grabbing some keepsakes from our stroll in the form of large rocks along the tracks. For a week or so, I used them to weigh down our recycling bins.

One day I came home from work to learn homeschool teacher Pam and Carson painted them as part of a creative art project. They are keepsakes from a walk to forget.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.