Flipping Pancakes

I started my morning trying to get on to a zoom help call with the local school district whilst simultaneously trying to make pancakes. My kids’ schedules still seem to be somewhat jacked up. And we all gotta, you know, eat.

Of course, the zoom call didn’t start on time. And, of course, they let me into the room just as I was downstairs in the basement retrieving an ingredient so that I was hustling up the stairs lest I miss my chance. They put me into a break out room to get the problems solved almost immediately after I expressed my dissatisfaction. This is at least the second time that I’ve been under the distinct impression that they’ve tried to shuttle my chats or calls into a more discreet (and discrete) area just as I’ve gotten going asking questions like, “should I be concerned that these on-going issues are an indicator of the education my children are going to receive?” God bless the educators and administrators facing a parent who has been homeschooling for the past two plus years and the answer is, unfortunately, yes. Yes, this chaos is reflective of the education they are going to receive.

So here I am just trying to make it so that the technology is actually working, and I keep getting a lot of explanations and defensiveness muddying so-called apologies. “The adults need to remain calm so that the kids don’t pick up on our stress,” which really makes my blood pressure crank up. “No, I want to say, the adults need to take care of this scheduling and technology nonsense so that the kids don’t get unnecessarily stressed out,” But I don’t.

“Everybody has been working really hard,” an administrator says as I attempt to flip pancakes with one hand and mute myself with the other so that I can ask kid #1 to please go wake up kid #2. (Husband was taking the auto-immune disordered dog to the vet and kid #3 was, praise God, still asleep.) There’s more: “innovative program, the likes of which have never been done before”. I want to tell her to take this type of language to the school board or wherever they need to take it to get money. I don’t care. I just want my kids to not be upset because the links they’re clicking on don’t go anywhere as they are slowly becoming more and more panicked that they are missing something or that it is they who have done something wrong. “You’re doing everything right,” I tell her. “It’s the grown ups who’ve messed up.”

Which is pretty much always the case.

We go over to my parents’ place in the afternoon. The kids log on from there while I continue to work on getting some space there for them to set up their school laptops. We’re low on space at our own house and a little change of scenery and company has been a necessity during this pandemic. It’s becoming increasingly important with the kids all being under the age of 12 and therefore unable to get vaccinated. While many spaces and places have seemingly been opening up a bit more lately, from a parent’s perspective that has just meant that more places become riskier and riskier for unvaxxed kids. We are trying to spread out as much as we can within the confines of safe space.

I’m trying to clean and organize a bit there, but the tension from dealing with the so-called adults has settling into my hips, which, in turn, yank and pull on my lower back. I’m fighting a battle against pain with only a few weapons: myo-facial release, stretches, and Advil.

Part of me really thought that once school started, I’d be able to relax a bit. I thought I might even have some time to myself. Virginia Woolf wrote about the need for writers (and particularly women) to have a room of one’s own. It will be a while (if ever) before I have a room of my own, but I certainly thought that letting go of the homeschooling wold perhaps at least open up a little space (perhaps even a whole room’s worth) in my head. More room for creativity. For the time being, that creativity, that room is being dedicated to attempting to communicate with an entity (the school district) that doesn’t want to be communicated with. One of its representatives on the zoom call today said that I was sounding anxious and my first thought was, “You don’t sound nearly as anxious as I would think an administrator hearing about what’s going on in their school should be. Am I really entrusting my kids to people who seem to not even care about simply doing their jobs?” And the answer is no, no I’m not entrusting them to anyone. That’s why I’m on these calls and emailing and checking in with my kids multiple times a day, sometimes multiple times an hour. That’s why I’m putting as much energy as I am into this. And that’s why I’m flipping pancakes.


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