“I’m going to be honest with y’all. This whole Coved crisis has hit our family particularly hard.
Day one of quarantine, I spent a lot of time curled up in the fetal position, sobbing. I had the flu, the kids were bored, and my husband had to go to the ER, getting exposed to God-knows-what. He left and two minutes later, my kids were already at my bedside.
‘What are we going to do today?’ they asked.
‘What can we eat for a snack?’
‘When can you get out of bed, Mama?’
‘Do you feel better YET?’
It wasn’t 9 a.m. and I already burst into tears.
‘Kids. Listen up. Mommy doesn’t feel good. I’m sick and stressed out. I need y’all to play together and stop fighting. Feed yourselves and stay out of trouble. I need you to let me rest.’
I felt horrible, to be honest. What kind of mother tells her kids to feed themselves and leave her alone?
Like I said: I was sick, and it was survival mode.
But can I tell you? By noon, something magical was happening.
My kids were running around the house giggling with one another. They were making projects and playing dress-up. They made tents out of sheets, had picnics of whatever junk food was in the pantry, and dressed our Labrador up in a princess gown.
I was able to rest while they chirped like happy little birds around our house. Occasionally, they would start to fight, and I would pick one of their names, yell from my pillow, and they’d settle back down.
It was going… surprisingly well?
Then, right around 1 o’clock, I heard
Followed by peals of mischievous laughter.
Holland was screaming, ‘DO IT AGAIN DO IT AGAIN!’
‘This can’t be good,’ I thought to myself, rolling out of bed. I came around the hallway just in time to see my six-year-old son sledding down the stairs with a maniacal grin, in a freaking laundry basket.
His sister was looking on from her perch on the stairs, pleased as punch to be a part of his shenanigans.
A part of me was furious. They were being reckless and stupid.
But part of me was… impressed? Like, holy crap, my kids are having an amazing childhood right now! This is the stuff memories are made of!
This Saturday was catching me off guard. I hadn’t yet decided if that was a good thing.
You see, every Saturday my kids ask me, ‘What are we doing today?’ And while my answer is different each weekend, I ALWAYS HAVE ONE.
But I didn’t have a plan this week. Frankly, we were dumped on our butts in the middle of this public health nightmare and I wasn’t sure we were going to survive it at all.
Now, I know it’s early yet, but I have to tell you: In the week I’ve been home alone with these two, I’ve seen more childhood joy exploding in this house than I’ve seen in a year.
Turns out, when kids get bored, they bloom. And when they have more time with their family, the soak it in like sunshine.
Don’t get me wrong.
I am still sick, still stressed, and still hoping this nightmare ends sooner than later. There will be many heart-breaking stories to be told when this pandemic ends, but I am determined to find some sort of silver lining.
There’s sunshine behind every shadow, right?
Everything is a little scary right now, I admit. It feels like the world is broken and the plug has been pulled for a reset.
But before the plug goes back in, remember: we have to count to ten. As I look for a silver lining in all of this, I have to wonder if this is it:
We are all being forced back into our homes, to be quiet and be still. Maybe boredom will drive us to the family dinner table. To play with the kids in the playroom. Maybe we will have more meaningful conversations with our spouses.
Maybe we will see our children grab a laundry basket and launch themselves down the stairs and laugh like we are ten years old again.
In a little while, the lights will come back on and society will be functioning again. It will. I promise.
But y’all: first we have ten seconds.
What are you going to make of it?”
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. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
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