Furlough 2020: The Pox, Homeschooling, and ‘Making It’

I can say, at this moment, in an upbeat mood and a stomach full of Girl Scout Thin Mints, that we’re doing… well…? Ish?

Perhaps we’re mostly “ish”, which gets us through the day. That’s all I need, really. To get through the day. Not long after I posted my last update, Elliott came down with the chicken pox. True story. And I put myself through some serious, unproductive mom-guilt upon discovering it.

Sometime last week, Elliott was just done. I thought he was a mess because he hasn’t been around other people save for his family – which happens. When he doesn’t have opportunities to socialize, he falls apart, and he got that from his tiny momma. (That’s me.) So, he kept falling apart in pools of tears throughout the day, and Will and I were past the point of patience. At one point, Elliott collapsed on the floor after the edge of a couch hit his shin to which he responded, “I don’t like these different kind of bug bites! They hurt! I don’t like the bugs in Oklahoma!” Had I had the emotional strength in me to pay attention to his words, I probably would’ve asked him to elaborate. Different kind of bug bites? But again— donezo. I attributed his meltdowns to him being a toot and calmly requested that he stop blubbering about one lousy bug bite.


The next day, Will and I took the kids outside to stretch their legs, blow bubbles, and kick the ball around. It was the first time we’d been outside in five days, so it was a sunny celebration of sorts. Elliott found a little creek and pretended to fish. He handed me a stick to fish alongside him. When he bent over, I saw a red dot on his neck. Then another. And another. And before the poor kid could protest, his shirt was up and over his head, exposing many, many more swollen red dots all down his back. I spun him around to find more dots all up and down his stomach.

We went home.

Within the same week, our flight home was canceled. We were expecting this, but it still stung. It’s hard to be frightened and anxious in a time of global fear and anxiety and not be home. So Will sat himself down at his parent’s kitchen table and did not get up again for about three hours— after he secured a rebooking for us at the beginning of April.

Honestly, I don’t even know if that booking is going to hold, and Will and I are at a place where, though we desperately long to be home, neither of us are willing to risk our family’s health to get there. So if the booking holds, wonderful. If it doesn’t, well, one day at a time, right?

We’ve been trying to find ways to keep ourselves busy. Will is still deep in grad school work, so he’s not entirely at a loss for what to do, but I know he misses his Vienna routine. I’ve been trying my hand at hoop embroidery which I haven’t touched in six years, and it’s been oh so relaxing and therapeutic. I also decided to get certified with SYMBIS, a premarital/marriage counseling tool, so I spent a few days in training and was certified last week. I also plan on getting certified in QPR (suicide prevention) Training during this time.

As for the kids, we’ve tried our best to provide the kids with a routine, but it’s far from perfect. We’ve divvied up “jobs” so everyone in the family has a role to play:

Mother-in-law: Arts and Crafts

Holly: Daily Lessons and Reading

Will: Games

Father-in-law: Class Clown (floor wrestler, book reader, tickle monster)

Uncle Aaron: Video Game Guru

Uncle Seth: Status Pending

Oskar the Dog: Cuddles and snuggles

Theo the Dog: The Bane of Lucy’s Existence

Today, the kids learned about the moon, and I filled a tray with Bisquick and had them drop marbles into it to create moon craters.

The activity lasted .05 seconds.

So, you know, we’re making it. We’re having fun as much as we can in such a time as this, and I’m really kind of wishing I’d followed through with my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education right about now. But! We’re good. We’re all good.

And waiting for Lucy to break out with chicken pox.

But, honestly, at the end of the day, we’re safe. We’re healthy. We’re mindful of those struggling.

If you’re in need of sunshine, good vibes, and creative inspiration, I recommend checking out U!Shine Vienna’s Facebook, as well as The Blurt Foundation’s Twitter feed. Both of these organizations are hyper aware of how difficult isolation can be to one’s mental health, so with that in mind, both (plus a wide variety of others) are running campaigns to bring gratitude and creativity into our current indoor lives.

I also encourage you to please participate! Just like stories, you never know who will be inspired by your latest song, poem, artwork, recipe, photograph, or list of gratitude. It’s important because you’re important. I hope you know that. If you don’t, well, now you know. You are, and don’t second guess it.

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