Whatever You’re Doing
This blog post is a strange opportunity for me to sit, be still, type, and create. The last four weeks have been missing all four of those things.
Well, I’ve been sitting, but mainly for 30-60 minutes of work before moving on to the kids or maybe a meal with my family. Meal prep, distance-learning, kid activity, handoff from parent-to-parent, grocery run, worship planning, outdoor walk, play a live Facebook show, house chores, practice songs for worship… I’ve been working in small chunks and honestly, I’ve been busier now than ever before. I was used to having a three-hour block of work time each day while Arya was napping. Now, that nap is going away slowly and resorting to screen-time for babysitting just makes a parent feel guilty after a while.
I’ve not been still very much either. There have been frequent walks around the block to get said stimulation and some easy exercise and even a few bike rides, which have been so sorely needed. I’ve been up and down the basement [office] steps a thousand times, and the continual changes in weekly schedules [now with school-at-home] keep me from having actual down-time until kids are in bed and my show of the night is finished and the dishes are clean and I can let my body clock slow down [4-11pm is my GO-TIME].
I’ve not typed anything this long since… I dunno. I had a particularly well-organized and comprehensive email prepared for the Easter worship band, and quite honestly, that pained me to place in the drafts folder and eventually delete. Easter with this band and our special guests would have been so fun! My last blog post on February 13 was pretty extensive, so this feels like the next longest thing I’ve ever written. It feels good to get a pile of thoughts out on a page.
It seems like ages since I had a moment to place my thoughts out on a document, and furthermore, it has been a long time between songwriting sessions. It is just not that easy to focus on things for very long when kids think they rule this house and there are frequent video calls popping up all over for myself or my wife. Creating happens best with me when I have silence and no schedule. It might be a while.
The creative part has been replaced by problem-solving and rethinking workflow and work-life and home-life with two careers and two kids that need schooling. I suppose the creativity is coming out through choosing my daily show set lists, thinking of activities to keep the kids from their boredom, and re-arranging my office to get JUST THE RIGHT ANGLE for Facebook Live are all things I did not expect to put so much thought into. I’m enjoying those things, but the monotony has definitely set in. I need to get used to this; I don’t expect things to change swiftly.
I’m now trying to completely stop mourning the loss of “what once was” and embracing the gift of “what now is.” We are very lucky that both of our daughters [6 years apart] love playing with each other. This would not have been the case with my wife or I when we were kids. The constant time they have spent together is really cute to see and we are very blessed to have them love each other. Yay, love! If you have teenagers in the house, I’m praying for you.
Hearing about divorce rates spiking in China after the first wave of Covid-19 was truly horrible, and I’m grateful that my life partner and I are also still amicable and in love. Yay, love! It is definitely a blessing to have another parent in the house when I get fed-up with whatever parenting and adulting that I’m trying isn’t working. That sort of tag-teaming is immensely welcome. Thanks, Erin!
We’re now accepting that this time we spend together in our family nucleus is just as special as other events, and now even more so because [we hope that] this is a one-time deal. We are expecting that we never get this time to dedicate to ourselves and our kids again. We want our memories of the era of “Coronavirus” to be fun and happy while we know that it really isn’t fun and happy for others in the world. Giving ourselves more family time without distractions of going to a show, school, vacation, event, etc is definitely a challenge, but think of what these kids [and us] are reaping in return. I’m hoping my kids remember this as a freedom to do family. Immediate family anyway. Yes, we miss the grandparents.
After dissecting my daily time spent, I start to envision long-term plans for our society. I’m very much afraid of not being able to return to “that-which-we-used-to-call-normal” life anytime soon. Will we be visiting Mount Rushmore this summer? Are we really going to see Green Day, Weezer and Fallout Boy this summer? At what point does the governor call off the Minnesota State Fair? These things are hopeful and uncertain highlights and anticipated memories of our lives that are creating the real stress for me. The uncertainty. I have a very difficult time discussing “what-if’s” at length and coming away feeling good about things. I love playing chess; I don’t love having to guess what our future fun looks like.
So what will I be doing from here on out? Probably the same ping-ponging of kids, worship planning, meal-experimenting, and now, hopefully, more observing of how I’m REALLY spending my time in isolation. I need to take this time to turn off Netflix and Hulu and affix those carpet squares to the basement floor like I wanted to back in March. I need to forge ahead in making progress regardless of my immediate surroundings and digital distractions. I hope to have a lot to show off when we see each other again, even if that means over 40 live shows archived online.
For now, I’m going to keep on with the sitting, which means helping my kids with school work; the stillness, which for me means reading and researching new worship technology; the typing, which is this extrovert’s primary means of communicating lately; and the creating, which I hope to lies in more than just long blog posts.