Dear Kim Of This Time Last Year,

Today both of the kids go back to school! This is going to sound weird to you as you started the first week of August. I don’t really have time to explain the how/why everything is weird…just know there’s a pandemic and we’re all trying to adapt to reduce spread but also maintain some sort of normalcy. It’s an impossible balance.

Wes actually started last week, but Nikki starts this week so today feels like the “First Day Of School” and I thought I’d write to you and tell you how things look right now as you’re enjoying your 8th week of your kids being in school all day every day!

I know it seems like a late start. THE END OF SEPTEMBER? How is this the first day the kids are going to school! It’s really not. We’ve just been doing virtual school.

Wait. We did actually start 2 weeks late. I forgot about that. Okay. So we started two weeks later than you did. BUT! Then we just did virtual school. That basically meant for 5 weeks the kids would log onto their school system every day to see what videos they needed to watch or live lectures they needed to view to learn the material and then there would be assignments to complete! Let’s not talk about how it took about three weeks to figure all of this out because the kids each have 7 different teachers. But we did it! We figured it out!

And then our school system announced a return-to-school staggered schedule after 5 weeks of virtual learning. Wes went back Monday and Tuesday of last week and Nikki starts back this week. Our school system divided everyone by last names so there’s Cohort 1 and Cohort 2. Cohort 1 will always be in school Mon/Tue while Cohort 2 will always be there Thu/Fri. Wednesday’s shift between cohorts every week.

Are you confused yet? Me too.

And you know how Nikki’s school does block scheduling? You have longer class periods but half the classes a day? So you end up with TWO schedules…A Day and B Day. No big deal, right? She did the same block system in middle school! You just remember that everything alternates…A Day, then B Day.

Except with this staggered schedule it’s not that easy because to make sure all cohorts have the same number of A Days and B Days sometimes she’ll have two B days in a row. She and I both have a calendar saved on our phone but we’re pretty sure at some point I’m probably going to take the kids to school on a Wednesday they’re not supposed to go and she’s definitely going to show up with A-Day stuff on one of those B-Days.

Oh! But don’t forget! Both kids started new schools this year, Wes as a 7th grader in our Junior High and Nikki as a 9th grader at the High School. Neither one of them know the buildings or protocols or anything. Wes said his return was fine because there were teachers in the hallways helping kids find their classrooms between classes. Nikki has had some teachers post helpful videos but her school is huge and she’s definitely worried about getting lost.

Wes’s biggest complaint from returning last week was getting used to wearing the masks all day.

Oh, yeah. There’s a statewide mask mandate which WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR and just wish the whole country had done this back in March. But…this is the first time the kids have to wear them all day. And yes, 9,000 people told us on the internet to force our kids to wear them all day in advance to get used to it but you know these kids are too old to force to do anything so…this is their first go at all-day mask wearing.

So today is the first day they both go back. You’re probably thinking, “Finally! You get the house to yourself!” Except that Donnie quit is job and is taking a type of sabbatical right now so…you know…he’s here! YOU HAVE NO ALONE TIME EVER!

This is all very stressful. And I haven’t even told you about how Mom lives here now and how she has dialysis 3 times a week and has been hospitalized 3 times since she moved here in March! She’s fine. At least as fine as she can be with all of that. But…you know…there’s actually a lot more stressful shit going on in your life right now that is actually completely unrelated to the pandemic! Did I mention Donnie quit his job? He’s working on all of these projects around the house which is great but YOU NEVER HAVE ANY ALONE TIME. Sometimes you have a quiet car ride and sometimes you take a little longer at the grocery store but neither of those things really satisfy your need for quiet or solitude so…we’re hanging in there!

Barely.

Oh, yeah. I cut our hair. Just went a little crazy and chopped about 6 inches off of it. It’s still long enough to put back in a bun which is how we wear our hair most of the time anyway, so not too big of a deal, but I do feel like it tells you a little bit about what to look forward to in our mental state.

I haven’t even told you about the tragic deaths of some key political/judicial figures, the devastating wildfires, the torrential hurricane season, or the non-stop protests of protest police brutality and racial injustice happening across the country.

Enjoy mental-health stability, community well-being, and personal solitude while you can. Seriously. You’re going to miss it.

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