In the blink of an eye, our life as a family of four has gone from on the move to on hold. Between work, school, hockey, soccer, gymnastics, tennis, Girl Scouts, birthday parties, book club, working out, volunteering, traveling — our weekly schedule was action-packed.
Like millions of parents nationwide, we are grappling with the impact of the coronavirus as each day brings more restrictions and worrying realities. I have to remind myself that our situation is not as dire as many, and feel fortunate to live on a nice street in a nice part of the country with nice neighbors.
But challenges still exist now that I’m holed up in my untidy home with my husband, two kids — ages 8 and 6 — and two geriatric cats (that seem less concerned about the global pandemic and more focused on disregarding proper litter box usage).
(This thought is interrupted by my 6-year-old flinging off her pajamas and running upstairs to get dressed while singing the same lines from the Star Spangled Banner at the top of her lungs: “AND THE HOME OF THE BRAAAAVE!” It’s only 11:30 and I’m still drinking coffee. I find her patriotic exuberance inspiring, and her energy level exhausting.)
I consider myself a creative person, so between my ideas (and Pinterest) we have found ways keep our kids entertained, including painting, playing games, building LEGOS, doing puzzles. As first and second graders, I discovered my kids are at a perfect age for MAD LIBS, and we’ve had a lot of fun doing those as a family.
We also embarked on a neat project together where I walked around our neighborhood and my daughter helped me take pictures of various items such as signs, plants or funky yard decor. Then my son helped me edit the photos (something I didn’t even know he could do, but he was very good at it), and I designed a page with the photos so it’s like a scavenger hunt where you try to identify the items. Then we made copies and put the game in our neighbors’ mailboxes so they could walk around and look for the pictures when they have the chance. It turned out well, and it felt good that other families could enjoy what we created.
(This thought is interrupted by the sound of a 6-year-old playing the recorder. Dear God, why do we still have that instrument?)
As a parent, uncovering glimmers of hope and goodness seems essential in this climate of change and uncertainty. I found an especially uplifting message buried at the bottom of an email last week from The Green Heart Project — a local organization that promotes education through hands-on gardening and is active with the community gardens behind Daniel Island School. It read, “We’re following the example of our gardens, who continue to grow and flourish despite the impact COVID-19 is having across the world. We are optimistic that our community will grow closer as we support each other through this challenge, and will show its resilience when we make it to the other side of this pandemic.”
I love the image of plants and flowers continuing to grow regardless of what’s going on around them — it’s an inspiring metaphor that feels worthy of sharing and believing, now more than ever.