So many things have run through my head and heart as I’ve sat down to write this piece.
Part of me wants to write with optimism and be lighthearted. The other part? The other part wants to portray the truth of what I’m feeling during this temporary pause in our overly scheduled lives.
As adults we have seen a lot of pain. Our own business has been hurt by the economic impact of the last few weeks. Friends of ours have had to lay off workers and business owners have had to close their doors.
We know healthcare workers who are preparing for the worst and teachers who have been asked to find ways to make sure kids continue learning and have meals each day.
This is our day and then we come home to our kids, try to show love and compassion all while feeling the heaviness of the world. Every night we gather around our dining room table for dinner. No doubt, we are on the longest running streak of all five family members sharing supper together.
For the most part, we have enjoyed the extra time spent as a family. After dinner clean-up we play cards or a board game, something we used to do weekly has now become a daily routine. Yet the other night one family member, whose identity I will protect, asked “do we really have to hang out together or can we each just do our own thing tonight?”
I think we all sighed in relief as we went our separate ways. The introvert in me is begging for some solitude that is hard to find among the constant noise and action with the kids home all day. My extroverted side is begging for an in-person happy hour, to sit with parents at a sporting event and Wednesday evening gatherings at church.
Socializing for my kids has consisted of the parent-dreaded Snap Chat, Tik Tok and the like. I often get annoyed with the amount of time they spent snapping friends or creating videos.
Now, I find myself searching for the right mix of allowing them to have these connections while not being attached to their phones all day. I’m nervous about helping my kids adapt to online learning, especially since I’m still working a lot. I expect them to follow a schedule, complete chores and move their bodies, but I know they will disappoint me at times. Surely my impatience will show its ugly face.
I’ll have to find a balance of holding them accountable while also giving them a bit of grace. When this is over, I believe many of us will look at the freedoms in life through a more appreciative lens. The ability to meet a friend for lunch, a quick workout at the gym, carpooling kids to and from activities.
So simple and yet for so long we did these things without understanding how lucky we were. I know we will get through this and, as neighbor said in a text chain, we will celebrate on the other side.