Doing the Best I Can
"I learned that I am a stronger person than I thought I was because I know plenty of times some people would have just cracked and just threw their hands up in the air and walked away from everything."
I do electrical work for an electrical company up here in Charlotte, NC. They cut our hours down to three days, and that was most of the year because a lot of the places or construction sites kind of put everything on hold because of the pandemic.
Paying bills is the challenging part because without the income to pay it, you’re thinking in the back of your head, “They going to come over here and turn the lights off. They going to come turn the water off. They going to come over here and turn the gas off.” I don’t know, I think as a parent, to me that’s the part that bothers me the worst, having your kids see that the lights off, that they can’t do this and they can’t do that because of that. It’s not like I have lump sums of money just stashed away or whatever, and most jobs, they don’t really pay you enough to live. I wish that the shoe could be on the other foot for some of these people that own these companies. Let me pay you $10, $12 an hour and let me see you live off of it.
The school district came up with the program where they were feeding the kids, but the only problem was how are the kids going to get it? They weren’t dropping it off in front of the house, and having your kids at home and you kind of really don’t want them out with everything that is going on ‘cause you don’t know…you know the world done gotten to a point where it's gotten crazy. And my kids were kind of young and so I really wasn’t comfortable with them walking all the way to a bus stop and standing there waiting on somebody to come by and supposedly drop off some food, so I never could get it. The kids got to the point they were sick of eating noodles and stuff like that, and I did what I could do and that was all I could do.
As far as their school work is concerned, when it first started, I had problems with it because there’s nobody here to monitor them so it’s more or less me walking in and asking questions, “Did you do your work online?” “Yea, yea Dad, we did it, we did it." And then you start getting phone calls from the teachers, they’re marked tardy for first period, third period or they didn’t log in today, then they started having log-in issues. I’m not an IT guy so I really don’t know the ins and outs of that. It’s more or less frustrating ‘cause you don’t know if your child is passing. You don’t know if your child is doing their work or getting their homework or doing their assignments and you get teachers that…and I know it was a process...and maybe they were just overwhelmed with emails that was coming to them about the same thing...but like I said, sometimes I get an answer and sometimes I don’t.
If I got a phone call or an email from the school that said, “They missed such and such,” or whatever, I would tell them to email the teacher also and ask the teacher if there’s anything they missed or they didn’t see or they didn’t get, could she resend it so they could do it. Or if it was an assignment that they missed or they couldn’t log in, could you send it, and if you can’t get it to go to them, could you send it to my phone or my email address so I could try to help them as best I can. So it panned out fairly well.
Normally a kid sitting in a classroom, most of them are not going to ask the teacher the questions or if they don’t understand something they are not going to tell their teacher because they don’t want anyone in the classroom to think that they don’t know. But since they’ve been on the computer they have gotten to the point that if they don’t understand something, they will email their teacher and tell their teacher that they don’t understand it and she would send it back but in a different way so that they can understand it better. I was grateful for that.
This year around March it got worse…I ended up going to the hospital because of COVID and about five days after I tested positive, it took a turn for the worse. My youngest son came into the room and I had just passed out on the floor unresponsive, not breathing, and when I came to, I was in the ICU at Atrium Health and they were pumping oxygen. I had a mask on, two tubes up my nose, one down my throat. Seven days in the hospital. That was the worst of it all because I didn’t have income coming and I just went back to work May 10th.
I think the kids learned how to be closer as a family. They got rid of a lot of their selfishness. I can say that because they don’t look at it as like, “Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I have this? Or why can’t I go here?” They don’t look at it like that no more. They are humble as they can be with it.
I learned not to just give up. I learned that I am a stronger person than I thought I was because I know plenty of times some people would have just cracked and just threw their hands up in the air and walked away from everything. I didn’t have any control over COVID. I think between COVID and me going to the hospital, this has made me a better person because I have a whole different outlook on life and I just try to do the best I can.
- Johnny McCoy