7 Things Learned While Helping My 3rd Grade Nephew During Distance Learning (AKA Zoom)

Being in Los Angeles, we will likely be one of the last cities to let the kids go back to school, in my opinion, based on the past year. They are going back everywhere around us but not yet for us, says the LAUSD.

Because of my flexible schedule as a furloughed server and freelance writer, I volunteered to help my 9 year old nephew do his Distance Learning. He has a lot of energy and last year, I saw how it was going with being taught in front of a computer screen, so I vowed to do my best to help. I sit with him during the entire zoom two days a week and go through his google classroom with him daily. I check his homework. His teacher knows me well.

My nephew tells me I help all the time, and continually thanks me for it through his words and actions. I’m fortunate he does. Because let’s just say it has not been easy. His love and education are what keep me going. I get a lot in return and have no regrets.

On that note, allow me a brief interruption….

To teachers everywhere who are working around the clock, in chaotic times with unclear directives, I bow to you. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

7 Things Learned While Helping My 3rd Grade Nephew During Distance Learning (AKA Zoom)

  1. A child’s love is truly the best gift out there. It’s raw, real and has true purpose.
  2. I am 43 years old and cannot do third grade math. In fact, it makes me rip my hair out.
  3. I thought I was a better speller than I really am.
  4. Does the five-second rule still apply with parents today when a snack is dropped? If not, huh….. well… too late
  5. I’ve seen more boogers to last a lifetime. A few even placed in my hand for observation.
  6. Nine year olds have a weird body movement clock. They can’t stay still for longer than a minute.
  7. And on that note, their attention span is so minimal that I truly wonder how they remember anything at all. Unless it has to do with video games. Then, they can focus for hours on end. Which is equally amazing.

Socialization is key

In this age of Corona, being around others is something more rare than it is plentiful.

For some, who work in jobs that still exist, they ARE still around others, socializing a ton, like those in food service, delivery, healthcare and ride sharing.

And then there are those you are around because you’ve been around them since day one of the Pandemic and what they have, you have.

And some who don’t give a shit and socialize like it was 1999.

Regardless of what group you fall into (and there are a lot more,) what I don’t see is an end in sight. Even with a vaccine, no one can be forced to take it. And even if it was tried to be implemented by force, a civil war would likely happen and then the virus would dominate.

I’m thinking we have to figure out how to just deal with this new reality before our economy tanks even further.

And while, I’m a believer things will change after the election (like kids back in school, flight routes reopening and the like,) it’s not going to happen overnight.

And I fear for the ones lonely in this process.

I fear for the kids who no longer know where their friends are. Or if they even still have any.

I fear for the communities that need others, like AA, churches and the like.

But what I fear most is that we are becoming a society who fails to understand socialization is part of what makes us human.

After having lunch with a couple girlfriends today, whom I haven’t seen since this whole thing began, I was left thinking 1) how much I need to socialize with others and 2) how humanity is cherry-picking what is okay and what is not.

What say you?

40 Years of Wisdom

In five days, I will be forty years old.

The twenty-one year old Christina would probably be in awe of a few things, like the fact I’m not a size 0 anymore and I quit smoking cigarettes and my husband is in the other room…

As I was driving home from work last tonight, I was thinking of the coming of this new era for me and some things I’ve learned along the way, like when I was six and I backed my little legs (both of them) up against the exhaust of a newly parked 1970s motorcycle muffler.

You can see #6 below for the lesson learned on that one because I decided to list my “words of wisdom” in order of age, taking some creative license with the first couple seeing as I’m not quite sure I remember being two.

Each of these lessons have remained important to me to this day so I thought I’d pass them on in honor of turning forty. I hope you enjoy them… and the little stories I included along the way.

40 Years Of Wisdom

1. Breathing is a most important thing.

2. My mother makes me more at ease than anyone in the world.

3. I love my family but my brother and I are very different.

4. Playing outdoors is a really fun way to spend your time.

5. School is interesting. But I question if all rules need to be followed…

6. Engines are very hot and second degree burns are no joke. The scars have lasted to this day so point being – Be Aware Of Your Surroundings.

7. We all make bad judgements. Such as being in second grade and pooping your pants and not doing anything about it until you get home… (TMI?)

8. Teachers can be very effective. Thank you Mrs. Riordan. We all hoped to get your class!

9. I love my family, with props to my father who works very hard for his family and my Aunt J. who speaks her mind bluntly but has a heart of gold.

10. Life can suck and be beyond your control.

11. I am different from many other people I come across.

12. Fight for what you want. A big thank you goes to my parents for allowing me to make the choice to go to public school rather than private Catholic school for seventh and eighth grade.

13. This monthly interruption of your body is a thing all women must go through. Men do not. (Which begs the question, would men want to if it meant they could experience childbirth? Talk amongst yourselves…)

14. Boys are fascinating and the dark-haired, tall ones seem extra appealing to me… I am one of those with a type, considering all three of my long-term boyfriends (with one becoming my husband,) were dark-skinned with dark hair and had a height of 6’0 or above.

15. My parents and I will not always agree on things.

16. Driving = freedom with responsibility

17. I am much better writing essays than I am solving math problems.

18. College = freedom with responsibility

19. Friends can be your family too.

20. Whenever I try to fit in, I end up sticking out even more. Faking things just isn’t in my blood. (Sorority life was not for me, though I did meet some amazing girls when I lived in for the year, and one of whom has become a best friend for life.)

21. Drinking Alcohol = freedom with responsibility. (Bonus lesson learned – no matter how much you win, you will lose to the house overall when playing video poker in casinos in Vegas BUT you will likely have a lot of fun doing it while drinking free watered down cocktails at one in the afternoon so it’s important to question first if you’re okay with that.)

22. Difficult choices bring lots of pain. Make them anyways.

23. The road of post-college life is not straight. Not. At. All. And you are the driver so don’t let anyone else take the wheel.

24.  Servers make a lot of money in Los Angeles. But you earn every penny by directly dealing with people who are hungry and been sitting in traffic for two hours to go ten miles.

25. Age creeps up on you. But question, what’s really in the number?

26. Making films is the main thing I want to do in life, though I adore the hell out of writing and should do something about that.

27. Fulfilling a life goal is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can go through. I made my first short film after working odd film jobs for years and just talking about it without doing it. (I have now made seven, played at festivals around the world, write about filmmaking and have a feature script getting some nice attention, which hopefully will lead to making it as my feature film directorial debut… stay tuned!)

28. The years of life go by fast. (Oddly, 28 was a hard year for me. I was tested plenty by the universe and did not pass them all…)

29. My father is my biggest fan. And I am so very lucky to have him as a father. (This is around the time I finally realized it.)

30. I am not always as in control as I think. It’s important to see things as they are, not as I wish them or want them to be.

31. I am not perfect. And neither are all my choices. And I do not have all the answers like I thought I did at 21.

32. My parents are my true best friends.

33. Love comes in all forms. (My nephews taught me how to break down the wall I built, not wanting others to get too close… that is until they entered my life.)

34. I can be the change I want.

35. I must try. I must earn what I want. I must be honest with myself. The rewards will come. (They honestly do!)

36. True love does indeed exist. And holding out for it was one of the best choices I ever made.

37. Relationships take work and are not one-sided. Being in one means thinking beyond oneself. (Ask my husband, as this is not always easy for me but he shows me how through his own actions Every Single Day.)

38. Positive energy begets positive energy. Period. Just try it. You get what you put in. Yin and Yang. Cause and effect.

39. Marriage is a journey, not a destination. And when two people support each other, the sky is the limit.

40. Breathing is a most important thing. (And aging is inevitable.)