A Letter to My Children During This Time in Our Lives

To my two beautiful boys,

It’s crazy how fast life can change and how your world can turn upside down with little warning.

My life changed the minute you were each born and has continued to evolve over the past few years, at varying paces at various times in your young lives. But this spring, within a short period of time, life shifted quickly all over our planet, and we sit here today, sheltering in place in our home, moving forward at what feels like a snail’s slow pace.

You won’t remember the spring of 2020 with Bode only almost 3 years old and Otis 16 months old. And because you two won’t remember, I write this down for you.

Someday we’ll want to look back at how we went about our days at home, week after week, possibly month after month—how we coped and persevered. These are my thoughts and memories of this time, a time you won’t remember but one your Mommy and Daddy won’t soon forget.

It’s a time when the world feels really scary. The world has always been a scary place, and when I became a mother, those fears held more weight. But this past winter and spring, a new fear developed and not only lingered in the dark corners of our minds but emerged all over our globe.

 

Someday we’ll want to look back at how we went about our days at home, week after week, possibly month after month—how we coped and persevered. These are my thoughts and memories of this time, a time you won’t remember but one your Mommy and Daddy won’t soon forget.

 

The coronavirus/COVID-19 spread like wildfire, and we soon found ourselves social distancing, staying home, and staying put. Your Daddy, the scientist who never stops reading, prepped us early as he researched about the virus’s rapid growth and risk. We prepared physically and mentally a couple of weeks before most, and I’m glad we did. When our region was ordered to stay home, we had already been there for a few days; it lessened the shock and my fear, as I had had time to begin wrapping my head around it all.

And as our country struggled to adjust, we were already in the process of hunkering down and getting comfortable.

But I, your Mama, still worried, and I worried hard. My anxiety found a new food, and it binged. And I still worry today, as we pass the one month mark at home. I worry about the risk of us getting sick, about this pandemic going on so long that we don’t see our families across the country for months and months. I worry about the country loosening up on guidelines and people going back to their normal lives … and the virus returning. I worry about friends and family members’ jobs and finances. I worry I’m not doing enough for you two boys, that I’m not providing enough stimulation or enrichment for your growing bodies and brains.

The list goes on and on.

 

 

You may be young, but Bode, you love your preschool, but we’re now living in a time where schools are closed. I’m sad that you can only see your little friends via your weekly virtual circle time; when their faces pop onto the screen, you squeal with delight. You tell me you miss school, and my heart hurts for you.

My heart hurts for my parents who miss their grandchildren deeply and had wanted to be with Bode for his upcoming birthday that will now be celebrated with just us four at home. My heart hurts and feels guilt for worrying about such little things in comparison to the bigger, scarier, sadder situations in the world right now. My heart hurts day in, day out for all the children of our country who depend on schools for food and safety in addition to education.

My dear boys, your Mama’s heart hurts with sadness and despair, and her head hurts with nonstop worry. 

 

You may be young, but Bode, you love your preschool, but we’re now living in a time where schools are closed. I’m sad that you can only see your little friends via your weekly virtual circle time; when their faces pop onto the screen, you squeal with delight. You tell me you miss school, and my heart hurts for you.

 

But then you boys, my two rambunctious, silly boys, are right here, right in front of me, smiling and shrieking and pushing those worries away, at least for right now. You help me focus on what is literally directly in front of me, what is happening in this present moment, what I actually can control, in a way that I’d qualify as soul-saving. You two are the best reminder that our days still come and go, and our life continues on.

One day at a time is our new motto.

Life marches on, with new routines and patterns. We’re safe in our home 24/7 with your Daddy working right beside your Hot Wheels track. We’re no longer venturing out to playgrounds or the beach, but we’re trying our best to be creative and active at home. I’m trying my hardest to keep your minds and bodies moving and learning, and I’m quickly realizing that all those adorable at-home projects that are flooding social media are super cute and all, but you just really want to go find more snails outside. Our days are loosely scheduled with nothing but bedtime being non-negotiable. Snacks and screen time are more lenient than before, and that’s OK.

I’ll continue to strive for smiles and laughter over lesson plans.

When our little Otis naps, Bode, you and I bake, once or twice a week. It’s one of my favorite things to do with you. We create a heck of a mess, but you help me scoop and mix, and we’re eating so many delicious baked goods. It’s mornings spent like this that I want to remember always.

As our latest creation bakes, I clean up the flour and sugar spills, and I often notice you playing quietly by yourself, organizing your cars and dinosaurs, and for a moment right then and there, I feel reassured that you are doing just fine, that we’re going to be OK. I even cut myself a break, as I’d call that some stellar independent play, and that’s a mama win for me.

 

 

We don’t know how long this will last, we don’t know what our life will be like when it’s all set and done, and because of that, I still worry.

I have good days and I have hard days. On the good days, I ride the wave of positivity and hope, focusing on cleaning kitchen cabinets and baking cookies with my boys. And on the hard days, I fret for hours and struggle to sleep, struggle to get through the day with a smile. But I do, because of you two. Because it may feel like the world is collapsing all around us, but there’s no way I can do anything but laugh and smile as Bode tells me the latest adventure story happening in his imagination or silly Otis dances in circles in the kitchen.

 

My dear boys, your Mama’s heart hurts with sadness and despair, and her head hurts with nonstop worry.

 

I don’t think there is any easy age to have kiddos at home 24/7 in a situation like this.

All ages and stages have their pros and cons. And with an almost 3-year-old and a 16-month-old, I can confidently say that it’s tough. There is legitimately no break from the time they rise to the time they go to sleep (Bode, why did you choose now to stop napping!?). But I thank God that my boys aren’t older and asking more questions. You accept my simple explanation (“Everyone is feeling a little yucky, so we can’t go back to school or the park until everyone feels better.”) with no further questions, no further curiosities that could cause you to worry, to dream scary dreams.

I am grateful that you won’t remember this time. 

I’m quickly learning that when life goes haywire, things become both clearer and more cloudy. Priorities come into focus in all the cliche ways (health, friends, and family), of course, but also in the little things that bring us joy day in, day out. As Annie Dillard said in her book The Writing Life, how we spend our days is how we spend our life— and the weight of that statement feels especially poignant now when thinking about how our life will “resume” at some point and what we want that life to look like.

The future seems fuzzy right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start envisioning what we want it to look like when we’re on the other side.

I know you boys won’t remember these days but if there is a glimmer of 2020 when your mind stretches back years from now, pulling up any possible memories formed from old stories or photos your Mommy and Daddy shared, I hope you feel hope and love. Because that’s what you two gave me during this time, what you gave our family, and what ultimately, the world longed for.

Love always,

Your Mommy

 

Read More: How Social Distancing Has Taught Me to Further Appreciate SAHMs

 

Show Comments +