"Stay at home” – a saying once used to describe a conscious decision around child rearing is now being experienced unilaterally across the globe. When I was in college and had my first awesome history professor, I remember reading history books like candy and wondering what a World War, the Great Depression or a pandemic would have felt like. We are now living what will be in history books for our kids and future generations. And just like that, my wondering has come to an end.
No matter what our economic or geographic differences, COVID-19 has no borders. I believe we are all being given the exact same chance to figure out what we are truly made of as a species. Steel or glass?
“It takes 10 times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” – Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay.
For me, here is the real: I do NOT do well with lots of time at home and, in particular, having that time be fully determined by the most willful child I have ever met… mine.
Zavier has the signs of a little genius. His brain is always going, moving like a speeding train. He started talking in full sentences with a LOT of cognitive understanding of his world well before he turned 2. The amount of energy that little being has could power a whole village. He is just bursting with the need to learn, move and explore – but on his own very demanding terms.
I guess the blessing in having a super active kiddo is that I haven’t had much mental (or physical) energy for thinking or feeling the shock of it all! Instead, I just had to say to myself, “Adjust, suck it up, put your big girl pants on and get through this!” Some days require a hand-off-baton of coffee to wine. Others, especially with nicer weather upon us, allow for more simple pleasures: water, sticks, animals, massage while watching Moana (um, spoiled child).
My biggest hope is that on` the other side of this is two-fold. First, that humankind gains significant appreciation for some of life’s blessings. I vividly remember being at a coffee shop hearing someone complaining about their very expensive kitchen renovation while I was taking my first break from being in a hospital with my infant son who had almost died from our home being in such disrepair. Gratitude and attitude are everything. Second: that we stop leaning toward what is easy and comfortable first, and at least evaluate that against what is right. My father calls it the “ought vs. want” dilemma.
Starting today and every day going forward, ask yourself this question… “Am I doing this because I want to? Or because I ought to?” Give yourself some healthy balance between the two while looking around at all of the amazing blessings in your life. It is easier to self-sacrifice for the ought when you first take account of all the wants you already have.
Here are some of the things I will never again take for granted: DAYCARE, long showers, our home, clean water, our ability to make money as business owners, unrestricted grocery shopping, eating out, our health, hugging friends and family.
AND, here are some lessons I know we have learned: local food is king, start a garden, stop ordering things online unless you have to or you believe in the value of the company, if you need to complain please do it in the privacy of your own home or to someone who has given you the go-ahead for venting, learn to DIY anything you can (most of learning something new is pushing through fear), and last but certainly not least: toddlers are SO HARD, but it is temporary and it will prepare you for the teenage years when you will really need to gather your strength.
Stay safe, stay strong like steel, and STAY HOME.