It’s been awhile, guys.
My absence has nothing to do with a lack of empathy/concern… it has everything to do with the condition of not knowing what to say. Sometimes it feels like everything has already been said or “advised” by someone else.
I know most of you who read this blog are parents…. some soon-to-be, some new, some seasoned. Some of you don’t have children and may not for your own personal reasons, but show up here just the same.
I know it’s been hard – for every single one of you. I know (as I read earlier this week) that “everyone’s hard is hard.” There is no comparison here. We all have different versions of it at different times. Some of us are able to meet our daily challenges head on while others are throwing up a white flag and wondering how they can make it one more day. I get it (and I don’t). But I want you to know, however you’re feeling, in this precise moment? It’s something that needs to be felt.
Sometimes we read about things like “toxic positivity” and feel awful for telling everyone “God’s got this” or “focus on the beautiful and simple things in life.” But if that’s what your gut is telling you to believe or to share with others, it’s OK. If you are hopelessly optimistic, that’s beautiful. Your words and conviction are likely someone else’s lifeline right now.
If you are feeling scared, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or helpless because you are worried about family, your children, job security, financial security, your work on the front lines, etc. – that’s all OK too. Because we aren’t robots, right? We are human beings with a wide array of emotions. We are so incredibly complex and there is not one other human being alive experiencing life the EXACT SAME WAY that we are in this precise moment.
We need to try to have patience with others (and trust me when I say, I know how INCREDIBLY hard that can be)… and we need to have patience with ourselves. Because if one day we are laughing and high on life and the next we are crying in the shower, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are a lot of other people in this world going through similar highs and lows.
So here’s the thing. I have no advice for you… I have nothing to say that will fix anything. BUT. I will remind you that for every ugly thing you see, feel, or read, there will be something (maybe not today) that you will feel that is beautiful, sacred, or happy.
I love the dichotomy of this (Chris teases me that I just love the word dichotomy… and I do). Honestly, it’s incredible to me how moments in life like the one we are collectively experiencing can show us the most ugly of things while also showing us the most beautiful of things.
For every day that we have complained about being trapped inside with our kids due to wind and rain (and last week, snow!), there are days where the sunset looks like cotton candy stretched across the sky and we hear birds chirp and we feel the warm sun on our face when we step outside.
For every day that we hear a death count, we hear stories of survival (even in the most unlikely of places).
For every day that we are angry that there are people in the world who just don’t seem to care or who don’t take any of this seriously, there are days when we hear about true acts of heroism and incredible acts of kindness.
For as much as we are apart physically, many of us have talked to, texted, received letters from, or had virtual meetings with more friends, family, and neighbors than we have in a long time.
For every frustration we have felt at being with our children and significant others 24/7 with no break in sight, we have felt such gratitude at being able to have more time together.
For every moment of isolation or loneliness we might feel, there may finally be time to read a book, rest, write, cook, and just BE.
For everyone deemed essential who may be dreading work, you are truly incredible and can find pride in the fact that you are literally saving lives and keeping the world turning right now.
For everyone feeling guilty that you can’t do more, rest assured that your commitment to staying home, reaching out to check in on others, and donating your time, money, or talents when you are able to is more than enough right now.
Parents, if you are working full-time and can’t create a plethora of fun activities and lesson plans for your little ones, you are teaching them independence, creativity and resilience. And as long as you are keeping them safe and fed, you are doing your job well.
Parents creating lesson plans and spending more time than before with your kids, the most important thing you are doing right now is just being present and giving your kids your love. It doesn’t matter if you are good at crafts or fractions. That’s not what they’ll remember.
The bottom line is, this is going to be a messy, emotional ride for most of us for awhile. But by getting up each day and trying again, we are become more and more resilient. (Please note that I am not downplaying the fact that some people might truly be in crisis mode and I would encourage you to dial 211 and find local resources for help at this time).
To all of my new or soon-to-be mamas out there, God help me… I am sorry from the bottom of my heart that the time when you physically needed your village the most, we are unable to physically get to you. But please also know that we are all only a phone call away – we can Facetime with your other kids for some virtual babysitting/distraction, we can send takeout to your door, we can drop groceries, we can listen, we can get creative. And you will get through this challenging time because anyone who can grow a human for 9 months (sometimes with nausea, pain or complications) and then birth that baby can do ANYTHING (that is something I will always believe).
Am I all over the place? Good. That’s called being human. I don’t want this to seem too polished (also, it’s 645 am and I was up three times overnight with the one year old, then the three year old, then the dog… so forgive the chaos of my tired brain).
I hope this helped. I hope you know that for every cute picture I post or hopeful quote, there is a snow boot being thrown across my kitchen (by me) because I can’t get anyone’s attention or big, angry tears springing out of my eyes behind my sunglasses. We’re all a mess, we’re all beautiful, and we’re all in this together.