Jen Atkin

"All of my kids are home. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel a sense of peace.  But this isn’t how it’s supposed to be."
Jen Atkin Family Disney World

Jen Atkin with her family at Disney World

I should be happy.  All of my kids are home—all of the time.  And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel a sense of peace.  I breathe easier when they’re all under one roof.  But this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

My oldest son shouldn’t even be here.  He should be back in LA, sleeping in his disgustingly dirty, bomb-went-off messy, closet-sized room at the fraternity house.  He should be doing things I don’t want to know about. I should be missing him, wondering what he’s up to, and muttering under my breath that he should call more.

My daughter should be grinding away at the last of her senior year, hanging out with her boyfriend (a term I’m not allowed to use because, you know, why must I insist on “labeling” things), spending countless hours deciding between two nearly identical pairs of earrings to go with her prom dress, and attempting to organize a train wreck of a beach week.  This should be the best time of her life . . . so far.

My youngest should be finding ways to push boundaries. He should be running outside on a soccer field, not kicking the ball around the patch of carpet he’s cleared out in our basement. I should be groaning about driving him around, yet terrified when he’s behind the wheel.

But here we all are. Every day I awake with a promise to myself that we are going to make the best of it. We’re going to take advantage of this time and get things done.

Items on to-do lists are getting checked off. But deep down, I know that my desire for productivity is just my way of trying to make sense of a time that makes no sense at all. My lists have done nothing to ease my sense of powerlessness. They’re just a makeshift Band-Aid on a worldwide wound.

Yet, every morning, I get up and make more lists.


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