Friday, December 25, 2020

Unforeseen Custody Issues: Who Could Have Predicted THIS?

I'm generally a worrier. If my kids don't text back after a few minutes, all sorts of images bombard my brain. Sometimes they don't text back for hours, and it always ends up being because they were sleeping or - back in the good old days - at a movie theatre with their phone actually off! So there's the voice that says, "They're dead in a ditch," but that's always being countered by the voice that says, "Don't be silly. This happens all the time, and it's always nothing!"  

But now Covid has ramped up that negative self-talk to 11.

I was finally able to relax a bit knowing that high schools are online only for three full weeks after the break. Just one week in the building, and then I expect to be teaching distance learning for the rest of the year! But then Christmas brought its own obstacles.

Nobody in my home is visiting anyone outside our household EXCEPT for my youngest. The one rule that no public health official or politician changed or even discussed throughout all the changes in levels and the crazy rise in numbers is custody during Covid. Children who move between two homes are supposed to maintain that arrangement throughout all this mess. We've largely found reasons to prevent the back and forth with her dad, who is far more relax about it all and seems to be in bubbles with several families at once. But we couldn't get around acquiescing to a 4-day long Christmas visit. Her grandpa has a newly diagnosed terminal condition, so they'll be visiting there too, which is really important but really terrifying. And I'm sick about it all. Of course she needs to see her dad, but everyone else needs to see their families too, and they're managing with zoom, but I guess it's different because she's just 16. There's nothing that can help nudge up the volume of my "don't be silly" voice when everybody agrees that visiting relatives is NUTS!! 

The girl is gone now, and there were many tears, and if anything happens to her I'll burn the whole world down. She'll try to get a test before returning and then isolate in her room after that. We started this whole pandemic with me bringing her food to her door every meal when she got back from a vacation in Mexico, with her dad, who threw caution to the wind and went despite the start of restrictions back in March. She had arranged to come back a week earlier than her dad and his family so she wouldn't miss more school, only to find that school was postponed for weeks. I try to think of this upcoming quarantine and meal service as a fitting bookend to the entire ordeal. 

A sample of the room service menu from March 2020.

Every Christmas afternoon for the past 26 years has been a little maudlin. The designated agreements allow for me to have Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with the kids, but then I'd have to pack them up for dad's house at noon on Christmas day. Truth be known, one of my favourite parts of Christmas has always been taking down the tree and scrubbing the house clean again, which typically involves loud music and a six-pack. While I love the hustle and bustle of the season, I'm happy for the chance to regain order anew with no kids in the house for a few days in a row!! But this year, the older two are staying put and the youngest feels like a sacrificial lamb sent to appease the gods. I have neither the time alone for my annual drunken once-over of the house nor that time together with everyone safe and snug in a pile on the couch watching a movie. My house is a mess of pine needles, tags, and bows; I'm afraid I'll soon run out of beer, and only some of my kids are safe for sure! 

In Algonquin with my favourite camper, August 2020.

But, it'll be fine, though, right?? It's always nothing

... she says, knowing her luck is bound to run out one of these days. 

Oh, and, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it!

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