Let me first say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a horrible, confusing, and challenging time for families across the globe. Each person, and family is facing unique and shared challenges that we could have never anticipated and are not prepared for. Our family is fortunate, and while my husband and I have had to wrestle with the impact of COVID-19 on our respective jobs, we still have jobs. While all of a sudden needing to coordinate new schedules within our blended family, and homeschooling three kids presents new obstacles, our family is healthy and we are together. We very clearly recognize and acknowledge our privilege during this time.
I'm going to share something that's possibly horrible to say during this time of a global pandemic: I'm actually really enjoying a number of unexpected realities of having to stay at home, and I don't want to take these opportunities for granted.
Over the last year, I have prayed and lost sleep over not spending enough time with our elementary-aged kids, and now daily we have hours upon hours together. I'm actually enjoying the challenge of looking up new STEM and art activities and making lunch for the whole family. It's extra time and effort on top of my already full work schedule, but I go to bed each night feeling happily exhausted, and my nightmares about lacking as a mom have stopped.
My husband and I are still "newlyweds" only starting second marriages for both of us a little less than two years ago, and we skipped the honeymoon phase and landed smack in the middle of scheduling and logistics. Never did I think we'd be able to have lunch every day together and share what's going on during the day. We actually have a few minutes to connect without talking only about kids' schedules (obviously because the kids' activity schedules are non-existent.)
We've carved out extra time to play board games together and watch family movies.
I've cleaned our house top to bottom (multiple times), and actually had a moment to enjoy our space.
We've called grandparents more than ever before.
I actually have time to walk our dog further than just around the block.
This pace and the time together that we're spending is, dare I say, even better than it was before. Had we not been required to slow down and stay home, I'm not sure we would have. The outcome is a new sense of contentment and appreciation.
We talk about how fortunate we are. Our kids know that many families are struggling in ways we can't imagine. We wouldn't wish the reason for this upended time on anyone. And yet, we've found the blessing in disguise, our own silver lining.
Some day our lives will return to "normal" - running back and forth, chasing after kids' activities, working outside of home; but I sincerely hope what we've learned to cherish will stay with us.
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