In the Present Tense

“Its negative!” the text read.

“Oh good,” I write.

“Take a deep breath bc u can keep living your lives,” came the next text.

I pondered that comment and thought, he’s right, for now. We can keep this ship sailing in the same direction for now. But, I know the time is coming when we won’t be able to outrun the storm anymore and we’ll have to batten down the hatches. For now, though, our family is in the clear. With six of us living in this house, our odds are high that someone is going to bring it home.

I take a deep breath.

As I exhale, the virus is closing in around us here. We know people now that have had it. Our friends are all talking. “Did you hear that Janie had it twice?” one asked. “Doesn’t one of her boys have asthma?” another one inquires. “Yes, but he’s in the low risk age category,” a third neighbor confides.

The new school year is closing in.

“Masks are required in all the common areas,” our director states at the Zoom faculty meeting. “How do you feel about teaching with masks?” she throws out the question.

A bead of sweat forms on my brow. I’m worried about that.

One teacher comments, “I’m having a friend make clear masks for me and my students.” Hmmm. That sounds cool and weird all at the same time. Another teacher pipes in, “Maybe I should just take all my classes online.” We decide to meet again next week and talk more.

After the meeting, my daughter brings me a plate of food. She knows I’ve been working frantically to finish the lesson plans for my new history class. I take occasional bites while working three screens: 1. On my iPad I’m running the tutorial on how to make a Google Classroom, 2. On my laptop I’m running the digital textbook for the Georgia Studies class I’m prepping. 3. On my phone I’m receiving texts from my 20 year old who just received the results of his Covid test. I am thankful.

Its all happening in the present tense!

I breathe in and out.


5 thoughts on “In the Present Tense

  1. When I read these posts about COVID-19, it always strikes me that we are facing this issue worldwide. I can’t think of another time in history when I could connect to the challenges teachers all over the world are facing. I enjoyed throughout your post how the words breath and breathing occurred over and over. It’s something we always could take for granted before. I’m glad to hear your child had a negative test. Stay healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That sense of “closing in” on so many counts is so real – I feel it. I know it. I find my thinking of late to be fractured in a dozen ways by the “present tense” of this collective unfolding story. Thank heaven for the negative test result for your son and for a daughter’s service of love in bringing food… just now I am thinking about small bites; not just of food, but of life. Definitely of that lesson prep, if that can be done! Strength, wellness, and peace to you and yours as you press on,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The sigh of relief was loud and clear. The tension of the situation is high. Breathing is the best approach to everything. We don’t know exactly what the future holds, we prepare, but the unknown is still there. Wishing you the best and hoping you can have some breaks when you don’t have to do three things at the same time and can simply enjoy the breathing and being.

    Liked by 1 person

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