Today, I have started my paternity leave. Regardless of what coronavirus has done to the world, this was close to the original plan to take my leave, because in a pre-COVID19 world, I work all through most of the summer while mythical wife is on maternity leave/summer break, and when she goes back to school, I tag in with paternity leave, and stretch out the not needing daycare for another six weeks.
Ironically, as I’ve said numerous times at this point, coronavirus has unintentionally given me a whole bunch of bonus paternity time, as I’d been able to be working from home throughout the entire summer, and almost entirely since my daughter was born. For all the bad it’s done throughout the world, I ironically have to be somewhat grateful for its existence in the sense that because of it, I’ve gotten so much extra time to bond with my child before taking off officially.
And right in time too, because it was made no more clear than the last week or so, that my performance was deemed to be inconveniencing by my superiors at work, and I had a rather uncomfortable talking to about how much they think I suck at my job, despite the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I can’t get child care no matter how much we might all want it, because my baby was born medically fragile and Americans can’t be trusted to socially distance and remain healthy, so a lot of childcare during business hours still falls onto me.
To the point where I’m actually taking this week with my own PTO, and rolling directly into paternity leave, because I’m over the bullshit and the passive aggressive swipes and friendly reminders, and ready to just spend some quality time with my daughter, without feeling any need to be worried about my inbox filling up or some bullshit virtual meetings to have to attend.
So for the next seven weeks, good riddance to work, and hello to daddy time.
Meanwhile, my wife has had to report back to work, because the particular county she teaches in is one of the only Metro Atlanta counties that decided to forego common sense, and not delay their opening and/or go completely virtual. I know I’ve mentioned how we’re both extremely unhappy about this, but short of her quitting her job, there’s no alternative currently.
The one saving grace is that she’s a virtual teacher, so she fortunately doesn’t have to have any physical students in her classroom, but it doesn’t change the fact that she physically has to report to the school, where there will still be hundreds of other students and faculty circulating in and out of the building on a daily basis, and breathing their droplets and potential sickness all over the place.
The state knows it’s wrong, but their hands are tied, because the directives are coming from way up, and then the directives are coming up from higher than that, because most everyone’s already heard the baked potato blather out on national news about how schools must go back, so there’s really nothing that can be done about it. I get the impression that most schools are operating in an interim fashion, and I visualize that scene from Cabin in the Woods where there’s the giant whiteboard pool going on, with the conditions of death on it, and I can’t help but feel like there are going to be educators all across the country for schools that haven’t gone 100% virtual, playing a pool on when their schools get shut down due an outbreak.
To say we have very little faith in our, I don’t even know what to say. School system? State? Government? Country? That it basically puts teachers like her into a choiceless situation where actual human lives are endangered, for no particular reason, other than a bread crumb trail where it ties back to adults needing to work in order for the economy to stay on track, even if it means their kids are being exposed to an epidemic on a daily basis, free to spread it all over the place, and make this curve never ever go flat.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, my daughter sure knew a good time to come into this world, and regardless of how much time I’ve been able to spend with her, I’m glad she’s not cognizant to the realization that she couldn’t have picked a more global failure of a year to make her grand entrance. But at least the bar is set pretty tremendously low for her future years to probably seem like massive wins progressively.