I’m canning potatoes. Outside my five and six-year-old are playing a hybrid game of Heartland and transformers. It doesn’t make sense. Five months into a global pandemic, nothing at all makes sense.
After abruptly ending in the middle of March, school is set to begin again. There was on-line learning but I didn’t really get around to that. Our days have been full of the mundane necessities of life – meals, snacks, laundry, tidying, and those sort of things. Then there’s been the gathering and processing of information. The navigation of ever-changing rules and protocols. And the decisions involved in planning for what could be. In every way, we are living a life we’ve never known before.
All I can do is what I’m able to. I built chicken “tractors”. A friend took our thirty-five pasture raised chickens to be processed mid-July. Now there are five roosters and eighteen laying hens in the yard. They’re only three months old but it feels like we’ve been together forever. In this pandemic, each day feels like a week, each week a month. Each month a year. Time feels like it is exponentially expanding. Yet, most days I get very little done.
At last the small deck is complete and the sand stations set up. It’s kept the kids occupied for a few days now. I’m doing what I can to stock our pantry as well as the freezer. The seeds I ordered in the spring didn’t get planted. Figuring out chickens and building the necessary infrastructure took up my time. I’ll try again next year. For now, I’m gathering what I can and preserving it. Making the most of everything – even the grapefruit my mom accidently bought became marmalade.
In all this uncertainty, it’s hard to know what to do. We’ve haven’t done much school work. I’d like to think we’ve been de-schooling. Though schools are opening up again, I don’t think I’ll send most of my kids. 12yr old Raine is going. This lock down has not agreed with her. As far she can see, I’ve purposely caused this pandemic to destroy her life. And she’s punishing me accordingly. School, as challenging as it will be with mandatory masks and social distancing, may be the best thing for her. But I can’t imagine how it will be for the other children. I realize for most parents school is not an option. People need to work. Since I don’t, homeschooling (not on-line learning) is an option. It’s the one I think I’ve decided on though there are moments when I don’t know. There is no clear answer in these uncertain times. I’ve bought the books and ordered the supplies. I’ve also done what comes naturally to me, found a group to help me through this next chapter of the unknown. We’ve been meeting regularly to talk about what learning could be in this season. It won’t be easy, but I’m working on creating something meaningful.
I don’t know what story my children will tell when this is all over. What story will I tell? This song runs through my mind countless times each day. In all this uncertainty, I know that God is with me. He’s never failed me before. He won’t fail me now. Even in the questioning, in the frustration, and imperfections of this chapter, He’s here. It’s the story I’ll tell.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.