Welcome to a new QWF series ‘Chronicling the Days’, specifically for this strange uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine. We’re inviting writers in Quebec in April 2020 to submit a story – up to 500 words – of a single day at this time, because while we’re all living through this time, we know that we’re not all living through it in the same way. To stay connected – to know how we’re getting on. Every story is valid.
If you’re interested in submitting a piece, please see here for further details.
What’s the story of your days?
This piece is by Lea Beddia, writing on Friday, April 3, 2020.
My daughter wakes at three a.m for the third time this week, calling out for her grandparents. I rock her back to sleep, but she’s up again at five. I’m used to sleepless nights, but my daughter is too young to understand why we can’t see loved ones, and her anxiety is affecting her sleep.
As for the rest of the day: cartoons, losing Monopoly to my boys, homeschooling, and a walk in the woods keep us fit and busy.
This strange quiet is like the moment before slipping on the top step. It’s calm, but I feel myself slide to a place where my anxiety will get the best of me. I distract myself and read to my kids atop heaps of toys, then clean up just to have a mess minutes later. These activities help me pull a curtain over what I’m feeling. I’m anxious when my husband goes on a supply run. I’m worried school won’t resume, I haven’t seen my family in over a month, and my heart breaks with every news broadcast.
It hits me all at once, and I have the urgent need to be alone. I take a moment and cry. Not for myself, but for this broken world. I go from feeling overwhelmed to frustrated to helpless. I’m most concerned about my parents, who are in Montreal. I live in the north of the Lanaudière region, which right now feels like a distant planet. I worry for my students. For many of them, school is a safe constant where they can get free snacks and breakfast. I miss them immensely.
It’s hard to explain because I spend many working hours asking them to quiet down, but now, even though I’m busy, it’s too silent without them. For those with difficult and unstable family situations, I worry for their safety and health, aside from the threat of Covid-19. But I pull the curtain on it all so I can function.
I video chat with my parents, and watch my seventy-nine-year-old dad dance with my daughter. It’s true love across internet connections, Wi-Fi and a pandemic.
Later in the day, my husband and I pack up the kids and drive to his parents’ house minutes away. We pile out, line up in front of the car, and belt out the least harmonious and most beautiful rendition of Bonne Fête, Mamie across a driveway and into an open window. Before supper, we draw rainbows and leave thank you notes in the mailbox for our mail carrier who delivered the books we ordered to keep us busy. We check on an elderly couple in town to see if they need supplies. We ease our worries with kindness and gratitude, because what else can we do? We enjoy our kids because, although I’d give it up in an instant to heal the world, I’ve been aching for extra time with them. And I’ll rock my daughter to sleep again at three a.m tomorrow morning.