Dear Corona Virus mom,
I see you, I feel you, I AM you.
We’ve had a lot thrown at us, haven’t we? The start of the pandemic brought fear into our homes. Fear we didn’t think we’d know in our lifetime. Fear about our health, fear about our kids and parent’s health, fear that our country’s leaders and healthcare system were not well equipped, fear about our financial stability, fear of the unknown.
As the weeks went by, that fear turned into mental health concerns. Concerns that with all we had to balance, anxieties and stress levels would reach peak points. As the world slowed down, our minds sped up. “Is my youngest withdrawn without her friends”? “Is my oldest’ s screen time affecting his sleep”? “Dad, for the last time, DO NOT GO OUT, I’ll get your groceries”, “Will I need to work twice as hard to keep my job”? “Is my husband internalizing his stress to keep mine at bay? Will that blow up in our faces?” “Will we ever see Nonno and Nonna again without a nursing home window separating us”?
We’ve had to be teacher, coach, virtual employee, psychologist. We’ve had to be our kid’s play dates and around-the-clock boredom fighters. We’ve had to do it all, and our all had us feeling like we were swimming against a current.
And then, at the end of May, another shift. The Black Lives Matter movement needed the world to listen, and our ears perked up. Our hearts grew so heavy as we mourned with our fellow brothers and sisters. As we listened to stories of oppression and racism, we vowed to educate ourselves and our children. To do better, to BE better.
It sent more questions and anxieties swirling around in our heads “how do I ensure my children treat all equally, are part of the solution?” “Have I ever done anything to contribute to the problem?” “Will this end in my lifetime?”.
For the first time in my life as a parent, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. It was all too much.
Our world is not what it once was.
And then, I reminded myself of who I am. An optimist. Someone who has gratitude for everything, even the hard lessons that we must endure.
I stood back and realized the beautiful things happening. My daughters have become inseparable, something I spent too much time worrying wouldn’t happen because of their 4-year gap. I now know my neighbors, a result of many walks and bike rides. My kids eat more flavorful meals, and help me make them (with no commute, I am able to spend more hours in the kitchen). I hug my angels. All day. A lot. Something I couldn’t normally do with us all out of the house 10 hours a day. “Movie night” happens 2-3 times a week – a time where we all cuddle together and indulge (I try not to get wrapped up in the COVID pounds, and live life in the moment). The kids have created “theme nights”, and set up special surprises such as a Casino in our basement. And, above all, the world slowing down got rid of the noise, the excess, the unnecessary. It allowed us to see the real, raw moments.
School is now over, and we will enjoy the summer locally. Although Fall still has many question marks, we are now better equipped to handle what comes our way. So take a minute, mama, and look how far you’ve come. Take stock of the incredible moments your family has lived through during this time, and the lessons they have learned to be better, more resilient humans. Lessons YOU taught them as you were learning them yourself.
Corona Virus mom, you’ve been through a lot, but it wasn’t for nothing. One day, your kids look back on this time and remember when mom was coach, teacher, comfort, friend.
My favorite proverb that I reminded myself everyday:
They thought they could bury us. They didn’t realize we were seeds.