‘I drove 11 hours with my babies. I just needed to feel my ‘home.’ I wanted to laugh together like the world isn’t burning.’: Mom talks about finding the positive during a pandemic

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“I drove 11 hours with my babies this week from Florida to Alabama, because after 5 months of pandemic fatigue, I just needed to feel my ‘home.’

I needed to taste my mama’s pancakes and sleep in my high school bed. I needed to see the faces of the people I loved—in the flesh, not through the harsh blue light of a screen.

I didn’t realize what a release it would be to just pull up in a familiar driveway, knock on a door, and have it open wide. How amazing it felt to be a welcomed presence, instead of some mitigated risk.

Now, I realize everyone has a list of things this pandemic has stolen from them. My kids haven’t hugged their family since February. They haven’t played with any of their classmates or close friends. And although we’ve done everything we could to fight for threads of normalcy, there’s only so much FaceTime you can take before starting to feel like a robot on Mars.

That’s because a phone screen can’t replace the warmth of an actual embrace. Videos can’t capture the sound of children’s actual laughter, bubbling up to the sky. Zoom chats can’t replicate how you feel as you watch your children play with their little cousins while drinking coffee with your sister on the front porch… laughing together like the world hasn’t been burning for four months straight.

This year has taken it out of me, y’all.

I’ve gained weight and lost sleep and I feel like an older, more tired, hollowed out version of myself. I’ve wondered if this pandemic is a thing I will ever fully recover from, or perhaps… if it’s something I even want to.

The truth of the matter is, I don’t remember a time I’ve so deeply relished these quiet moments watching my kids. I don’t remember ever sitting quietly in my front porch rocker, or watching the bottom drop out of an offshore rain cloud.

During this pandemic, I’ve been forced to find a place of contentment, by digging deep into the center of my soul. I have found it in my faith, and I have found it in my family.

The simplicity of that notion is both comfortable and scary:

Comfortable, because even though this pandemic has ravaged our country, it wasn’t able to take the things that truly mattered most.

Scary, because when it eventually does go away, I don’t want any of us to forget.”

Courtesy of Mary Katherine Backstrom

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Mary’s book Mom Babble: The Messy Truth about Motherhood is available here. Follow Mary on Instagram here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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