Day Sixteen. Today is Friday, and it is switch day; the kids will be returning in a few short hours.
I welcome the coming distration while dreading it at the same time. My house has been quiet these last six days. It has also been clean. The only messes made have been mine or my husbands, and they get cleaned up when we feel like it, in a manner that we find acceptable.
I have not had to perform a scavenger hunt this week to find my dishes. They are exactly where they ought to be. I have not had to lecture anyone (besides my husband) about what goes in recycling and what belongs in the trash. My counters are clean and my refrigerator handles are not sticky.
Three teenagers are about to descend on my house, disrupt my peace, eat everything in my home, leave messes and do half-assed jobs at cleaning them up, then look at me with a blank expression when I lecture them about it.
This is so hard, if i’m being honest! It is hard to have to parent someone else’s kids when you can not have contact with your own. My own two biological kids live on their own. While they are technically adults, aged nineteen and twenty, they are still my babies. My need to nurture them in this uncertain time is not lessened because they pay their own rent.
My oldest daughter will turn twenty one-years-old tomorrow and I am torn up over the possibility of not spending a birthday with her! It makes it harder knowing i’ll be spending the day with kids that I did not carry for nine months and spend thirty-six hours in labor with, while unable to see her and hug her and wish her a happy birthday in person. I want to toast her and share a glass of wine with her.
I am considering making the nearly two hour drive to her apartment just to stand outside her balcony and have a glass of wine with her. Her mental state has not been well for some time, and this forced quarantine and isolation has her struggling even more. I cannot imagine how disapointed she’ll feel if I don’t make the drive.
At the same time, she lives in the epicenter of the virus in our state. Thousands of confirmed cases are in her county of residence. My husband has his own anxiety about getting sick, or passing the sickness onto someone else unknowingly. I feel a tug-of-war trying to find the balance of respecting his need to feel safe in his home and my daughters need to have face to face contact with me on her birthday.
Post-Birthday update: I was able to send via Amazon, balloons and decorations to my daughters roommates to decorate with, money for takeout at her favorite restaurant plus additional for “drinks,” and organized a Zoom call with all her friends and some family near and far to have a party and shot with her. I spoke with her several times throughout the day, and while the day decidedly did not feel like a typical birthday day, the quarantine has forced us to find creative solutions, and I feel confident she still enjoyed her twenty-first birthday.