By English Professor Leslie Chernila
Hi Wolves! I’ve missed you and Mexico immensely. The title of this article is very tongue in cheek. Most of us probably don’t want to recount the endless days of being stuck at home, not seeing friends or family members, and wondering what’s next in this chaotic time of our lives.
I will catch you up on what’s been going on with me and highly recommend that you write down your thoughts and experiences since our campus closed in March. It’s not only cathartic but historic. Generations will be reading about our plight hundreds of years from now, well that is, if anyone is left. Just kidding.
One thing I’ve learned about myself throughout all of this, is that I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be and often there is a calm inside of me that is surprising as the world tears itself apart. The last memory of ASUCQ I have is that we had just celebrated Dia de Sin Mujeres. The glowing pride for Mexico, our students, staff and faculty lingered well into the next week.
Ahhhh those were indeed the good ‘ol days. In a flash we were scrambling to move classes online and mayhem ensued. A month later my oldest son and I packed up the car with clothes to deal with the cold spring of Colorado, the hot summer in Denver and luckily some fall clothes for “just in case”. Oh did I mention we also brought our Mexican dog and two cats? Yes, well that was an adventure I’d like to forget so moving on….
My sons and I have been staying with a friend and her 16-year-old son since then and I have to say, it’s been one, long, hilariously entertaining slumber party. The kids are not as impressed and are probably a bit bitter that they weren’t able to hang out with friends until recently. I wouldn’t trade the time spent with them and my friend for anything. It hasn’t been perfect, and I won’t deny that it’s stressful being a single mom when the kids aren’t actually at a school, or summer camp or playing with their friends most of the day. But I’ve gotten to closely examine each child; learn about and learn from; and listen closely and be listened to by Asher and Atticus in a way that will never happen again. #grateful.
Alas, I did actually take a vacation; my title isn’t too misleading. Camping with my sons felt safe and we were so far in the woods, the main road was over an hour away. We ventured out to do water sports, hiking, fishing, and hot springs, but people wore masks and kept their distance. I secretly hope this continues to be the norm once this is over. Smirk. Not exactly a full on holiday as I also worked for a friend of mine at his insurance company for the rest of my vacation and learned a lot about the industry. Yes, I felt a bit like Mr. Incredible, unable to use my superpowers. But being surrounded by so many young, fresh graduates was fun and made me miss my students on campus in Colon even more. One thing I won’t forget, not to be morbid, is that we all need life insurance, especially now.
That brings me to the last part of my “summer vacation”. Regarding my sons and school: The gnawing and agonizing fear of them returning was finally alleviated by my decision to not allow them to be physically INSIDE of a school until next year. I have not bent on this and as I hear from other parents who are choosing the opposite direction, I get push back from my boys. Luckily, I can still tell them what to do. As of March, I was the only full-time mom faculty member at the university. Folks, I cannot get sick. And I definitely can’t die. So thank you ASUCQ for putting us first.