I wanted Monday to start off really well. I wanted to say, “Hello, parents!” It’s Monday. You’ve made it one whole week, and you’re doing great.
But my hand was frozen.
The night before, you see, I was making dinner (no, reheating dinner), when I accidentally grasped a baking sheet I didn’t realize was already hot (hey, it happens).
I put ice on it immediately; in fact, I alternated those blue cold packs—the kind you put into a kid’s lunch to keep the juice box chilled—for the next 12 hours. The swelling went down, and that tell-tale white mark that comes with mild burns, it’ll eventually blend in with the others.
So nothing urgent. Nothing that would cause me to seek medical care or go the hospital just five blocks away.
And then I thought of all those hospitals right now, filling up by the hour with coronavirus patients, many gasping for air. And it hit me that this is no respite. Yes, we make light of it because we have to, because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be human or sane. I was grateful in that moment. It’s just a kitchen burn, after all.
We all get burned in life.
But back to Monday. I’m able to type, though I did take the night off cooking and let my husband make that family favorite: pancakes. What is it with men and pancakes? We moms can cook chicken in fancy sauces and meat loaves and potatoes that have little mouths salivating, but when the pancakes come out, it’s like … DAD … MADE … PANCAKES!
But I won’t feel bad. I didn’t have to do the dishes, after all.
I know that last week on this page, I promised home-schooling. Truth be told, I missed Thursday and Friday because the news was so relentless. They did have Hebrew lessons by Zoom on Sunday morning, so that counts for one day. I’m only a Friday lesson behind. (Does learning to play golf on the Wii count?)
I’ll make it up. I like the teaching. It’s productive, and I enjoy seeing my boys’ faces light up when they catch on to something (and no, everyone, I am not like that ranting Israeli mom of four in the viral post everyone keeps sending me). We’re going to go over grammar this week. Gerunds are fun. So is onomatopoeia. And palindromes are the best; one of my kids’ names is one.
I don’t see it as a burden. In fact, I hope to look back on this time as very special. A time when we came together as a family, recognized what we needed to do, buckled down and did it. They should know adversity, some hardship. They should know that others are suffering—that this virus is real, that health in individuals varies and they should protect theirs, now and in the future.
And they should realize when the baking sheet is too hot to handle.
Carin M. Smilk is the managing editor of JNS.
This Reporter’s Notebook will appear starting on March 16 until the end of the month (or when schools reopen).