I’ve really been struggling with how to write this. My life has been upended, and I’m feeling the loss of what was very keenly lately. I took for granted many of the comforts of the before – going to Target and wandering, sending my kiddo out to play with his neighborhood buddies, even grabbing a coffee and going into work where I could sit in my office with a door closed and get work done when I needed. Now I have only walks around the neighborhood to look forward to, and I’m trying to make sure my son does something educational each day, while set up at my kitchen table trying to get work done as everyone in my household parades through.
I work at a local community college in the TRIO Student Support Services program. This program is designed to support underserved and underrepresented populations – students who are low-income, first-generation, or have a documented disability – as they make their way through college. As hard as this is on me, it is that much more difficult for many of the students I serve.
I’m still receiving a paycheck, but many of them are not. I’m able to navigate technology, have a reliable laptop (and tablet…and computer…), and reliable internet, but many of them do not. I have a car and can pick up large amounts of groceries only occasionally, but many of them cannot. I was reminded of all this last night when a graduate of my program posted about some of the backlash she’s gotten for doing what she needs to do to survive, things like ride the bus and look for a job. Necessities for her.
I’m struggling. At least once a day someone in my house has a meltdown (and it isn’t always my kiddo). In the short time I’ve been typing this, my son has interrupted me no less than ten times, sometimes to ask a question, sometimes just narrating what he’s doing.
I’m also trying to continue to support my students in the best way I can. My job is relational, face-to-face. We have so much technology to connect us, but it’s challenging to find connection behind a screen. I’m sending silly memes and making videos and reaching out when I don’t hear from them for a few days. Because it’s so easy to get lost in all of this chaos. It’s easy to lose each other, and it’s easy to lose ourselves.
But we’re all struggling in our own individual ways. Daily, I have to remind myself to give others the grace I’d like them to give me, and I also have to remember to give myself that same grace. It’s so easy to feel like I’m not doing enough as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a support for my students, and I know others are having those same feelings of not being enough.
I’m donating money and supplies to organizations that are supporting vulnerable populations, writing kind messages to my kiddo’s teacher, waving and smiling at neighbors when I see them, running toilet paper or distilled water to those who can’t stock up when it’s available like I can. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough.
Each of us can only do so much, but with each of us doing what we can, hopefully we can find one another and no one is lost at the end of this.