Swimming in the S.E.A. (Part 7) – Land!

I can’t believe we are FINALLY at the end! I woke up this morning and I legit got tears in my eyes when I prayed and reflected on the journey that Mam’zelle took to FINALLY get to this moment. It was really a tumble of a ride filled ease, elation, frustration and back to ease which made me think of literally being out at sea. When I started this series it was really an outlet to express my thoughts as an ‘S.E.A. parent’ the second time around (which turned out to be the harder time around given the joy that 2020 has been thus far🙄. For a recap of my past ‘Swimming in the S.E.A.’ posts see below, iz plenty, so yuh could come back and check it):

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Incidentally this post is Part 7 and as sevens tend to symbolize, now we rest.

Suitable rest pic

So in this final countdown I have to again resurrect my Oscar-winning performance as ‘cool, at-ease parent who cannot help but feel nervous now but cannot transfer said anxiety onto the child’. Now generally Mam’zelle was not nervous and really showed maturity and resilience particularly as COVID-19 put a screeching pause on……well…..life. I think it is largely due to her personality which is very ‘matter-of-fact’ and her relationship with her older brother to whom she relates as though they are peers. This morning though she woke up asking random math questions ‘to make sure’ and ‘casually’ wondered which school she would pass for. I suppose this is natural but I still elevated my performance of reassuring her (in a Viola Davis kinda of way) even though I knew she still felt some reservations (i.e. nervousness) and me, worse yet.

To say that I am relieved that this exam will soon be over is an understatement. I have bitched about it on my personal profile as well as in parent networks on social media. The use of this high stakes exam as placement for 11 year olds while setting the mindset that it is the be all and end all of their school careers, is archaic and plain stupid. It is time that in this 21st century (Anno Covidi as one of my close friends terms it), the powers that be in Education strongly consider a working alternative because S.E.A. ain’t it. COVID-19 come and mash up de whole dance only to reveal that there was no Plan B. That alone speaks volumes.

To all the parents out there breathing a sigh of relief, cheers to you🥂 particularly those whose children and families had to be put into 14-day quarantine as a result of attending classes and possibly contracting the virus. Hugs to those of you who still feel some reservations in sending out your children tomorrow🤗. It’s bad enough to have had to deal with the postponement of the stupid exam but the realness of the pandemic is still a clear and present danger.

I thank all of Mam’zelle’s cheerleaders, her teacher (who deserves the largest award fathomable and a week at the spa if Covid wasn’t so blasted fass) and also online support communities who allowed me to vent and commiserated with kind words, emojis and funny gifs.

I pray for us all as we clear this hurdle tomorrow, pick up our bundles and go home to truly exhale with games, music, food or whatever put in place other than the traditional…… Our children have been through it and they truly deserve it!🥳

Blessings!

TMIDM

Swimming in the S.E.A (Treading Water)

When I wake up in the morning like many people, I usually take the time to pray and meditate before I jump start my day. This morning is different in that my mind is focused solely on my daughter. My emotions are all over the place and I’m finding it hard to clear my head and focus. You see today would have been the S.E.A. exam, the high-stakes test which would have defined my daughter’s graduation from one stage of her life to the next. She’s not alone. This morning approximately 19,000 children in Trinidad and Tobago are feeling a mix of emotions from relief to uncertainty to frustration to bewilderment.

Like many of the 19,000 parents and guardians I had plans. I was going to take the day off today, make sure she eats properly, do a sing-a-long car ride, pray with her before she went in and assure her that she got it in the bag, pray while the exam was going on, give her a big hug when she finished (and probably cry knowing that the months of hard work had finally led us to the end), eat at her favourite restaurant, laugh and play somewhere and then whisk her away to Tobago tomorrow for a mummy-daughter R&R weekend. Then COVID-19 pulled through and said you will do NONE of those things on this Thursday April 2nd 2020 Anno Domini.

This morning even as I type this, I consider life, control, plans and routine. Since the ‘Rona the routine has been to continue working (with reduced time) even though we do not know when the exam is going to be. This in itself is frustration (ask any hamster in a wheel) as my daughter was already getting tired of the constant drilling of Mathematics, Language Arts and Creative Writing and if you know anything about the Trinidad and Tobago education system you know that it is considers examinations first and education second. She was ready to move on with her life and had her heart set on a secondary school which offered a range of exciting things to study creatively beyond those three subjects. I’m torn as I know the appearance of the Coronavirus is completely out of our control (although the spread is). I understand that in life things happen that veer us completely off course from the path we are trodding. I understand and accept the adage: a man plans while God laughs. I get that while my mind does the Dr. Strange thing and anticipates all the million possibilities, there may be one I will miss which may be beyond my control. However, my humanity and my role as a mother makes me feel at this particular point in time that it is not fair.

unnamed

I think I should be allowed to feel that way for a bit even while pulling up my big girl panties and while encouraging my daughter to do the same. A brief scan of my social media this morning revealed posts with the general themes of  ‘today was supposed to be the day’, ‘grateful for life, some people didn’t live to see today’, ‘SEA not important in the grand scheme of things’ and ‘this too shall pass’. All of these emotions are important and necessary and I suppose designed to bring comfort and support during these strange-ass times but depending on how I feel I will pick one and then maybe revert to the next after all, I am human. My faith is hugely based on God being in total control, but God also made me human with a range of emotions that I am allowed to feel even while trusting Him to do what he has to do. He did the same with my daughter.

When she wakes up, I plan to gauge how she feels. I know like me she’s going to be unable to pinpoint an exact emotion, her head may be telling her one thing and her heart may be telling her the next and I know I shouldn’t force her one way or the next as today may be difficult.  The best I can do I suppose is to let her know that sometimes in life the ship can sail smoothly from one destination to the next. Other times it can take in water, you may make it to the shore, or you may be forced overboard but you have to keep treading even if you cry. It’s a very, very tiresome thing but it keeps you alive and that’s all that matters.

Corona Thoughts

While in COVID-19 self isolation this evening I slipped into a funk. I spent a shorter time than usual on social media today but this evening I saw a post being shared. It was an amendment to the Public Health Ordinance here in Trinidad and Tobago forbidding public congregation until the 31st of July.

Screenshot_20200319-204716_Word Admittedly at first I was amused in the sense of ‘look at where we reach because Trinis too harden* and can’t do what they’re supposed to do!’ Then I considered how many times I sat to eat or drink in a public space: the mall food court, KFC, TGIFridays, Eddie Hart grounds, the doubles man…to think that this is now an illegal offence is troubling. It’s as though that move concretized the whole thing for me (and it didn’t help that I just finished season 3 of the Handmaid’s Tale).

We are really in a crisis. This is a state of limbo which I hate like most states of limbo. My brain works itself into overdrive. When I considered the amount of money people would lose in this singular industry, particularly people with children, even children in exam classes, it prompted deep thought and a deep shift in perspective for me. Negative vibes came out to play.

So when I feel a hint of anxiety which has the possibility of increasing, in order to ground myself and keep it in check, one of the things I do is to read random stuff (real random things eh like anyone who saw my Google history would probably write me a referral to a special place)😔. I happened upon this article which made the spirit settle a bit and I’m sharing it here so maybe it can help ground someone else. Sometimes you have to see things as they are rather than what your well-intentioned visions were, reality may be easier to accept. I’m working on it.

Read it here⬇️

Psychology Today

Blessings to you

TMIDM

*harden=stubborn