As of this writing, the Coronavirus is now in all 50 states, with more than 500,000 cases worldwide. Make no mistake, these are very serious (and stressful) times that we are living in. But in the midst of the chaos that is current life right about now, I’m finding moments with my family that are absolutely immeasurable. And if it weren’t for the fact that we have to all maintain social distancing in an attempt to #flattenthecurve, we would miss these precious times. That’s what makes me think that I can’t be the only parent enjoying the pandemic.
Now, I’m not saying that every single second of the day is dreamy. Far from it. There are times that are so trying that you don’t know if you’ll make it until bedtime. After all, home schooling isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you’re balancing multiple kids (and multiple schedules) plus work demands, well, it can feel like you’re failing all around. But within the chaos of daily life, there are moments that can melt your heart — if you only look for them.
And still, in spite of (or maybe, because of) the situation, I’ve been forced to take on a Pollyanna-esque attitude towards this entire state of affairs. I have four children looking at me not just for guidance, but total reassurance that everything will be okay. So even as we see more COVID-19 cases cropping up (and more people die), I still manage to smile and assure my kiddos that it’s all going to be okay. I have to; I have no other choice — and neither does any other parent out there, really.
So, we make the most of our days. We craft, we bake, and we take walks. (Sometimes, we wear PJs all day and the kids watch an insane amount of TV. And that’s okay.) Yes, all of this has to be done in between work demands and distance learning, but we somehow make it work. We choose to fill our days with laughter, creativity, and fun.
But here’s the thing. When everything does return to normal (when the kids are back in school, when afterschool activities ramp back up, and there are friends coming over and sleepovers and so on), I’m not so sure that I want to go back to that old life. It’s a life filled with stuff, and while much of it is fun, some of it is just that—filler. It’s my hope to hang onto some semblance of what we’re achieving now (that connectedness and bonding and quiet time), without reverting back to what we once were. I want to instill this simplicity and joy in the stillness without the need to cram something into every second of the day. Because, as I’ve realized over the past few weeks, that’s not who we are, what we’re about, or truly why we are here.
What I want my kids to remember from this pandemic period wasn’t how they never left the house, and it sucked. Or that they felt so totally bored because they couldn’t hang out with their friends. I want their lasting memories of this experience to be the cool things that we did, the delicious foods that came out of our quarantine kitchen, and the resilience that we showed in times of uncertainty.
But most of all, I want them to remember most is that we made each day a celebration, even if it was us, within the same sacred walls of our home. These are the life lessons I want them to pass on to their own kids one day. It’s this sentiment of celebrating the small moments, that when added up, truly make a life worth living — and loving.