When Everything Is Out of Your Control


Hey all, today is day two of our spring break, but it isn’t anything like I thought it would be. I figured I’d be getting back late last night from Michigan where I would be presenting at their annual reading conference. I thought I’d settle down with some books, get some writing done, rest and recharge, ready to come back from break and tackle the fourth quarter of school.


Well, best laid plans and all.


Instead I, like many of you, am at home. I read news articles far too often, need to get off of social media, and constantly worry I am not doing enough to protect my family from a virus I don’t understand. 


To put it bluntly, it sucks. 


I worry about my students. I worry about my family, the one I live with and the extended family spread far and wide. I think about friends and their kids. I worry about our economy and local small businesses. 


I worry, a lot.


My students all know that I struggle with anxiety. There are certain things that trigger it, but a guaranteed trigger is the feeling of a lack of control. And you could say we’ve hit that in a big way right now. My teenage sons are convinced I am the most overprotective mom out there because I don’t want them hanging out with their friends. I’ve tried to explain the concept of social distancing, but they point to the CDC’s recommendation of ten or less, so why can’t they? I’ve allowed my oldest to see his girlfriend, the youngest to run with his friend, but that’s it. Even with that I worry I’m being too lax. 

I’ve talked to friends who are doctors, nurses, and scientists. They all say this is something to take seriously. Stay home. 

And the worry increases.


What I’ve found is helping is keeping busy. I began to curate a Padlet for my students that has cool things authors are offering online. (Like Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Mo Willems, just to name two.) Yesterday I drew with each author’s video linked above. I also learned professionally from Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle. I connected with educators around the world. I did yoga from home thanks to our local yoga studio moving online. 


It helped.


Each day I’ve made sure to get out and walk. Today I decided to make sure I was supporting local businesses by ordering some books online and picking up a curbside lunch from a local deli. I also mailed payment for appointments I cancelled due to this ridiculous virus to the folks that would have lost money otherwise. It’s not enough, but I’m trying.


I saw this poem and shared it on Facebook this morning. It encompasses my biggest hope. This virus is horrible, but maybe if we face it together we can come out stronger on the other side. 




Stay healthy, friends. This song is speaking to me just a bit. Hope you have a book, journal, or some music to pass the time with.


When Everything Is Out of Your Control