1:30 – 2:30

Whew. It’s 1:40 in the afternoon, which has become a bit of an oasis for me during this required time of isolation with family. 1:30 -2:30 is “Quiet Time” on our new family schedule. We’re into week two right now and the time has been going slow and fast, simultaneously. Slast. The time has been going by so slast.

My boys are 6 and 11. Their needs and interests are different. Very different. Typically, our schedules are set in such a way that the weekends are when we look for things that will make both boys happy, satisfied, and engaged. That weekend need has now multiplied to seven days a week. Weekends are now more clearly a construct of time and schedule, but man made, manufactured by union leaders of the past. Thank you, union leaders of the past!

Like so many other families sheltering at home during this time, we are winging it. Our trajectory, if Facebook has been any indication, is a wee bit different than other families we know. Last Monday, the first official weekday of Illinois’ ordered shelter in place, I got a bad toothache. This dental phobic gal knew exactly what that meant. Dammit all to hell is what I kept telling myself, wishing the pain away, hoping it was phantom, borne of stress, and like that miracle President Trump talked about, would just go away.

By Tuesday, it was clear it would not. By Wednesday, I got up the nerve to call my dentist and learned that dentists are not really in the business of dentist-ing right now. I was referred to an oral surgeon. Root canals are also not an option during this period of extreme caution, so they proposed to rip that sucker right out. With a lot of precautions, I had a rear molar removed last Thursday. I got IV sedation, which was the absolute calmest I have felt in a couple of weeks. A couple of days later, I realized I had taken about 16 photos of my feet in the recovery room that I had no memory of whatsoever.

So, yeah, after that and some other nonsense, it’s taken a bit of time to find our groove for this enforced time together. We are working to try and stick to a schedule that I posted on the Mary Tyler Mom Facebook page earlier on. It’s a little Pinterest perfect pie-in-the-sky, but with a few modifications, it has met our needs.

One of my favorite hours, I am not too proud to admit, is this one we’re in right now, between 1:30 – 2:30. Quiet time. That means my boys must rest in their beds, either napping or reading. Mama needs this hour. To breathe. To panic. To nap myself. To watch an episode of Nurse Jackie (why had no one ever told me about Nurse Jackie before this?). To catastrophize in damn peace, thank you very much.

Sixty minutes of mostly quiet. Sometimes giggles. Sometimes loud laughter. Sometimes little faces popping into whatever space I am in and asking, “How much time left, Mama?”

I need this hour. I need these sixty minutes like Nurse Jackie needed an intervention. I need these 60 Minutes like CBS News needed a ratings bump in the 1970s. And, for the most part, I am using it exactly as directed — quiet time. My time. Not family time or academic time or ‘get outside and walk’ time or chores time or kitchen time or ‘wiping every surface I can find with a too quickly dwindling supply of Clorox wipes’ time.

I use this hour to try and connect with some peace within, to quiet the fear and worries and dread and doom and gloom that is so very loud in these days. Today, I am sharing it with my keyboard. And you. And it feels quiet. And manageable. And familiar. And comforting. And necessary. Really and truly necessary, because the future is so uncertain right now and that can be a really scary thing.

It’s 2:30 now, folks, and the littlest one just came out, poking his head around his door frame. “Mama,” he says. And with that, quiet time is over.

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