“My kids haven’t played with other children since March. March, y’all. It’s weighed on my heart as to how this will affect them and if this lack of connection has impacted how they will relate with their peers.
We spend a lot of time in nature, it’s kind of our thing. Secluded spaces aren’t hard to find if you make it your intention to search. Yesterday, I took my kids to my favorite little mountain town to splash in the creek that runs through it.
We found a spot, as we always do, tucked away, socially distanced x10 because that’s been our style since before quarantine was even a thing. You see, my youngest (Riley) was born without an immune system and has spent much of her life living within hospital walls or in isolation. Where are my other medical families at? You get it.
Anyway, at one point there was a little girl about Presley’s age who was playing alone… swimming downstream and trudging back up just as my girls were. I watched them, wondering if they would engage, if they would remember how the world worked before and simply say, ‘Hey, wanna play?’
There was plenty of space; it was an opportunity for them to safely play with a stranger and I wasn’t sure they would take it. We’ve taught them the proper precautions of distance but they haven’t been in an environment to implement them. And I sat there hoping that they would chose safety over fear. That they would share this space at the distance they know provides protection.
After a few minutes Presley called over to the girl: ‘Hi, I’m Presley and this is Riley, that over there is our Mom… Alissa.’ The girl responded as she jumped into back the water: ‘I’m Brittany, my mom’s name was Ma-Lissa (emphasizing the MA to show the difference)… but she died.’
Riley, without skipping a beat, stopped in her tracks in the water and looked at the girl with such intention. ‘Oh wow…that’s so hard and sad. I’m really sorry.’ She paused for a moment. ‘Do you want to play with us?’ The girl smiled, nodded her head, and then they were off. There was well over 15 feet between them but my god did that moment feel like a hug.
That weight, the one that’s been on my heart, it drained right out of me and flowed downstream after my girls. They are going to be just fine. They are going to be more than just fine. Their ability to connect and relate to hardship is BECAUSE of it, not in spite of it.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Alissa McDonald. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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