My Children are Trapped in the House, and I Like It

Isolation is a mindset. I have felt detached in company and rejoiced in solitude. I govern the state of my mind.

I’m not a perfect person. Of my many flaws, selfishness tops the list.

Four days before Trump was inaugurated in 2017, I was injured at work. The two events aren’t related, but they have congealed in my mind. My life and the country were turned upside down at the same time.

One day I had a job and was constantly surrounded by people, the next day I saw only my dogs, doctors, and a rotation of wannabe detectives who were hired by workman’s comp to follow me, parking in front of my house hoping to catch me in physical activity, lawn gymnastics perhaps. I now know how it feels to be hounded by paparazzi. With the exception of physical therapy, doctor appointments, and grocery shopping, I rarely left my house. My self-isolation started in January of 2017.

My girls were away at school, one on each coast and my son was in high school and spent his free time with his girlfriend, or at his dad’s house. Be careful what you wish for. After 27 years of self-pity and bitterness- I missed out on so much of their formative years, my wish to be home came true, but not until everyone was gone. The cat’s in the cradle. The timing could have been better.

I had been a graveyard shift zombie-mom. Dark circles under my eyes, falling asleep at the wheel. I only wished for time to sleep and so I could be semi-conscious around my children- I also wanted time to clean out the attic. Suddenly I had all the time in the world, but I was physically restricted. No attic cleaning.

Hearing about work depresses me because, (it’s crazy I know,) I miss it. I have lost touch with most of my friends. It’s easier to stop returning calls than to know what I was missing.

“Keep your eyes on the road in front of you, stop looking in the rearview mirror!” That was my cab driver dad’s life-lesson. Today it’s called ghosting. Selfish self-preservation.

Today I’m still fighting workman’s comp, and still stuck at home. I’ve given up the fight for the last operation that would improve the quality of my life and might allow me to return to work. I’ve been told going back to my job will be impossible even after the last surgery because of my other physical restrictions. They just don’t want to pay for the surgery. I think I can do anything I set my mind to. I’ll have the surgery eventually and decide for myself if I can go back to my job.

Trump’s term could end in a few months, and If it does, I hope my fight with workman’s comp will coincide with his term.

Strangely enough, I’m happy. I’ve never minded being alone, but now that the world has joined me in self-isolation I feel even better.

My three wee spawn swam upstream, returning to their birthplace for spring break, and now they’re trapped by a butterfly net, for who knows how long. They have no choice but to hang out with me and the dogs. The best part of this story is that they can clean out the attic!

As I said, I’m selfish. It’s only been a couple of weeks for the rest of you, I’m well over the three-year mark. Welcome to my world, wipe your feet, but keep your shoes on. I know this isn’t normal, but I like that my sweet misery has company.

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