We have been in some pretty consistent lock-down status since mid-march. We live in a pretty small house for the five of us so it was always a challenge. The summer heat has made the challenge immensely more difficult.
Getting outside and letting the kids play outside was the best way to fight the claustrophobia of our house, and we still have 6-8 more weeks of very hot weather that make that next to impossible during most of the day (and in August things don’t even really cool off at night!).
Needless to say, my husband and I have both had moments where we have not been at our parenting best. This probably came to a peak as the stress of what to do about schooling peaked in July (right along with our state’s COVID cases… so anxiety all around) On a particularly bad day where yelling and crying came from every side, we had put the kids to bed and I was feeling utterly defeated. I had not acted like the mom I want to be. I felt like we were all unraveling. I was trying to come up with a perfect plan for the next day to make sure this didn’t happen again and just broke down again knowing that the next day was going to be just as challenging as this one and we were all sick of being stuck at home. And on top of that I was feeling guilty for being so frustrated when we are SO blessed to be healthy and in a home and able to work from home, etc. during a time where so many are putting their lives on the line or are worried about being evicted. My husband stopped me mid-manic planning and said “come with me…”
He grabbed our favorite baby toy, one that has delighted all three of my children as well as the two of us- our beloved Twilight Turtle. It’s adorable and projects constellations up on the walls and ceiling. We told the kids to climb out of bed and lay down on the floor and we lay down with them and looked up at the projected stars. We let the kids delight in the moment, in this simple joy. We reconnected after a rough day. We laughed together.
Then came the real magic, we each picked a star (well, ok, my son- being either obstinate or extra creative or both- picked the moon), and we pointed it out and said something we were thankful for… our home, each other, legos… it’s funny because each night at dinner we talk about high and low points of the day and say prayers of thanksgiving, I’ve even written a gratitude list of good things earlier on this blog, but somehow doing it in this different context made it all more immediate and poignant and important. I’m not saying it’s made the rest of the summer a walk in the pre-COVID park…but it has given us the re-set we need to make it to the next week, and to figure out how to continue to re-set from there (as far as I’m concerned, even if we cry every day of distance learning the important thing is that we show up again the next day and try to make it a little better). We don’t know what the rest of the year will look like, but we do know we have each other. (And we also have so much else to be grateful for like remote work, air conditioning, internet…) And that’s enough to keep us going.