Writing has always been a form of “me time” and parenting during a pandemic hasn’t left much in the way of time for mama. You know between worrying, feeding these kids, working from home, and all that. When I reflect on parenting in 2020, I feel all over the place. I really do, you know that expression, “all the feels?” Pandemic living reminded me that beauty and pain can (and often do) exist right alongside each other. Simply turn on the tv and you’ll be reminded of the sadness all around us. So much anxiety….
I remember at the start of the pandemic reading letters written during the Spanish flu pandemic with my seven year old son. I’d never lived through a pandemic and neither had he. So, we were learning together. Our kids will likely always remember this time in their own history, they’ll remember how their neighbors participated in the seemingly silly challenges, or what brands made coloring sheets for them to color for our local heroes.
I’ll remember the restraint and gentle kindness of someone leaving one last loaf of bread on the shelf at the store, sensing my panic. We will remember running through the house looking for teddy bears to assemble in the windows for little kids to look for on their 345th walk of the week. We will remember feeling like community heroes as we ordered the fifth round of take out in two weeks. We won’t groan when a teacher adds something “frivolous” to the school supply list next fall as we remember asking our son not to bring the iPad (and his kindergarten class) to the bathroom with him when he needs to ask you a question. Better parents may have discovered some new interests with their kids, I just found a couple new YouTube channels we all enjoy.
I know in my house, we were able to have many discussions on empathy and loving the people in your community and slowing down. I know as a mom it allowed me a lot of reflection time on where my priorities lie and the kind of children I hope to raise. I hope they grow up always asking if their neighbor needs anything from the store, washing and lending their hands. I hope the time we spent bored in the house makes them a little more creative and a little more silly. I hope they never forget the kindness of strangers and never stop extending it to others. I hope they read the letters and notes we kept as we walked through history hand in hand with their children someday, and reflect that even though pandemic childhood was weird and interesting and felt longer than it may have been, I hope they know I showed up for them every day on this crazy journey as a 2020 pandemic parent.