Shelter in place – week 2

What an up and down week so far. Warning, this is a longish post. But honestly, what else do you have to do other than read it?

It started with a lot of yard work. Check out some of my handiwork in the feature photo. Think lots of weeding and spreading pine needles….and our giant fig tree that I love so much. I have an order of tomato plants and more containers for purple potatoes, strawberries and blueberries coming from online shops. And before anyone judges these purchases as “non essential,” I would respectfully disagree. I *need* to plant fruits and vegetables. It is something I do well, something we need, and something I need to do during this crazy time in our world. Digging in the dirt makes my heart and brain happy = essential purchase right now. (Although I was sad to not be able to buy these supplies from my local Town and Country Hardware store).

First, the upside of the week. The teen girl joined Young Life before COVID-19 disrupted life. For those not familiar with Young Life, it is a Christian organization where college age students guide young people and help them learn to be their best selves. Of course I was super reluctant about this endeavor after her first experience with organized religion in 4th grade. I do not want to go into the details here, but it was devastating to our entire family, and we learned a lot about people we thought were like family to us. After that experience, she completely shut down to even talking about the concept of religion. I was instructed to follow her lead and see if it came back up as something she wanted to explore later on. So when she asked if she could attend a Young Life meeting in March, I agreed. She loved the meetings, until they ended. But virtual meetings have continued, and I have been proud of her take aways from them. This week there was a challenge on Instagram (hello, social media not being a bad influence!). She could earn points for completing certain challenges… one was to record singing a song with a parent. I was game… what else did I have to do?? Check out our duet (which was a hit on old people social media, AKA Facebook). I love all the smiles, even if they were laughing at my performance.

Now for the downside of the week (and it is only Wednesday). The teen boy is struggling with the online/self study way of learning. He needs the structure of school in the physical sense and working with his academic coach in order to be successful. What this new school normal means for me is that I have to micromanage his Power School (where assignments are listed and turned in) and be the family nag to make sure all assignments are completed on time. Apparently there were assignments due over spring break (what??) that are already late. I am not looking forward to my new role for the next 2 months… and possibly into next school year. Gulp.

But now for the positive spin, because my friend Jimmy Miller challenged me to find the positive, and I did in a round about way. People magazine recommended a new memoir The Upside of Being Down. I am always up for a good memoir, so I downloaded it immediately. I listened while working in the yard, and it was a great listen. The biggest takeaway was her Emotional Rating System. It is a scale of 1-10 to check in on how you are doing. On this scale, a 1 is a dangerous low and a 10 is hypomanic (happy but too happy to be safe). She writes that a 7.8/10 is her just right. And she challenges her readers to rate themselves using the ERS daily to help track their moods. I am thinking this will be a good tool for all the anxious ladies in our house.

A daily check in for your mental health cannot be a bad idea during our new normal. My hope is that if I see some low ratings, I can make some adjustments to get to a better place. And what an interesting project to look back on later in life. I am sure the ratings for the spring of 2020 will look like the Richter Scale during an earthquake…. all over the place. This is a crazy, crazy time for real. Thanks to Jen Gotch and Jimmy Miller for helping me see the upside of life right now. I am one lucky lady.

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