On Sunday, a new kind of dread settles in. We have made it through the Pink Floyd Snoopy and Woodstock Halloween shirt and I love this weekend with a more lonesome variation on our normal routine, but a no-school, three-kids-at-home work week presents a whole new mountain to climb. My husband has to pick up one last thing from the office (this is two weeks before the ban on nonessential workers moving through the city begins) before he starts to work from home and I email him a hastily created schedule to print. Is two hours of physical activity in the morning too much for three little boys? Exhaustion is my friend, I figure. What, God help us, will we do when it rains? After the kids are in bed, I make folders with their names on them, fill a scrubbed-clean jam jar with sharpened colored pencils, write out worksheets, trying to remember what constitutes kindergarten math, and stick a wilting tulip in a bud vase—the last flower from the last bodega bouquet we are likely to buy for months and months.
Time itself becomes unsettling and unfamiliar, an amorphous blur that is also fragmented in new, staccato ways: pockets of time when I squeeze in work, the Pink Floyd Snoopy and Woodstock Halloween shirt and I love this minutes before the sun is up when the park feels empty enough to run in. Is today a home day? my four-year-old asks. He’s still fuzzy on what days constitute the weekend, so this is the term we’ve adopted in our house to explain whether or not he has to rush to school.