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Indoors isn’t the natural habitat for my family. We love to explore, run, and play. We don’t love to sit still. Normally if we have time off school, we take ourselves off to somewhere new in México but obviously this isn’t currently possible. Like the rest of the world, we are inside, waiting.
We are obviously incredibly lucky. We live in Yucatán where the governor is working hard to keep our state safe, there haven’t yet been food shortages, we have space, schools have been sending work and keeping in touch, and thank goodness for social media.
Our kids are doing okay. They have the odd wobble. They miss school, they miss their teachers and friends (son is emphatic, by the way, that he does not miss school work), they miss their outings, they even miss the weekly supermarket trip! Our daughter is acutely aware that she may never return to her beloved kindergarten as she is due to graduate in June and if schools don’t reopen she’ll never go back. This brings on serious sadness for her and for us.
When there is a school birthday we’ve been taking to Zoom for frantic, crazy birthday celebrations. It’s sad that the kids can’t all be together but all the adults are pulling together to make sure our kids come through this as unscathed as possible. Of course, they’d rather be at school chomping down on cake as a class; but there’s still something satisfying for everyone about singing together, yelling “mordida,” and watching a child ram their face into their own birthday cake. It makes everyone laugh even at a distance. While we never want this to become our kids’ “normal,” we still have to make this as normal as possible for them.
We have discovered our son has a love of baking. He has even learned to bake alone. Our daughter has discovered a very confusing, but gratefully received, love of cleaning dishes. So, we bake a lot. Son says he will bake his new favorite cookies for his school friends when they finally get to go back.
A few weeks ago, I discovered a nursery service that delivers seeds and soil so we are now serious horticulturalists in this house. We are growing herbs and vegetables from seed and we are all so very excited to maybe one day eat the product of our labor.
We swim (yes, we’re lucky and have a pool), we read together, the kids do their online classes (even piano and robotics class have moved to virtual classrooms), we bake, we play with the hosepipe, we’ve taken up street art creation in our back garden (sorry, señor landlord), and we’ve done a few free online activities. One benefit of having bilingual kids is that we’ve had double the material available to us. We listened to Oliver Jeffers read his brilliant stories, we watched Cincinnati Zoo Safari time and Cirque du Soleil, and we attempted Conchi León’s hilarious hammock exercise class (if you’re wondering, kids did great, I was useless). We joined local horticultural and Maya language online classes. When the kids ask us what they can do because they’re bored, we offer them the mop and point them at the floor. They soon find something to do.
My favorite part of quarantine – is one allowed a favorite part? – is definitely the camaraderie that enforced distance can create. In the school WhatsApp groups, we share hilarious memes as well as activity ideas and online links to classes. We are honest about the fact that our kids are rarely wearing anything more than PJs or underwear and that we’re fed up with feeding people and yelling “don’t do that, we can’t go to the hospital.” We confess that we’re sad too and that we are all struggling to manage our kids’ school requirements whilst holding down our own jobs and lives. While I do love the new, deeper group feeling, like others, obviously I miss physical contact with friends.
But this, too, shall pass, and we will one day resume our exploration of Yucatán and México. Until then, we’re grateful for all we have and I’ll keep on drinking margaritas. Salud!
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse for its use in Yucatán Today
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