As moms, we worry. We worry constantly. We worry about the mean girl at the lunch table who never saves our kid a seat. We worry about the cyber bullies and the high school kid on the bus who sits in the back. We worry. It's our job. But it’s not the stuff you fret about late at night, lying in bed, they say; the bills, that weird mole on your toe, global warming. It’s the four-o’clock-on-a-random-Tuesday stuff that ends up getting you in the end. It’s the stuff you never expected. It’s the stuff that you didn’t think would ever happen. It’s the stuff that creeps up on you from out of nowhere and seeps into every inch of your world.
This pandemic is a four-o’clock-on-a-Tuesday kind of nightmare and within a few months, it’s turned our reality upside down. Whether we like it not, this Mother's Day, that's what we're worried about. Do you even remember what it was like before? Aren’t you starting to forget? I remember the daily routine of frantically rummaging through the hamper for that last uniform shirt at 7:37, cursing myself for not doing the laundry more often… shoving a juice pouch in my youngest's little hand, crinkled homework folded into the back pocket of his backpack, my thirteen-year-old standing for those last precious minutes, painfully waiting for the ice maker to cooperate and dump its ice into her water bottle: clank … clank … my oldest yelling to hurry up from the front door … me, already sweating from the stress of the morning, lecturing to drive slowly, but not too slowly, because there’s only thirty minutes to get to school. I can almost hear the sound of mowers on the way to work, driving with the window down, and the smell of mulch on campus.
My March first self would never believe it. School would be closed for the rest of the year. The Kentucky Derby would be cancelled. Baseball season wouldn’t start. What was once the best time of year, full of warm weather and the sound of birds and whistles on fields and pools opening and cocktails at the outdoor bar, would suddenly look totally different. There would be no graduation. There would be no half-day field trips. We would be plucked out of our normal and tossed into a world of masks and gloves and fear. Most days it would be fine. Stressful, yes, the chaos of smashing work and school and life’s everything into the four walls of your house, but mostly manageable. Other days, it would be overwhelming and impossible. As moms we feel the burden of it all: the increased housework, the need for your brain to remember Geometry and U.S. history and how to make paper airplanes and use paste. Our jobs not stopping to give us a break, but instead exploding into more stress, more uncertainty and more pressure. And the whole time, all we do is worry. We desperately want to see our eighth grader walk across the stage in her white dress, the dress you told her was too short, but she ordered it anyway. Now it hangs in her closet. Will it ever be worn?
Mourning the loss of the spring of 2020 is one thing, but not knowing what the world will look like in the Fall, or next week, or even tomorrow… that’s the hardest part. But as moms we must have faith that one day the wait will be over. One day, I don’t know when, but one day… we will go back to some new normal and we will remember. We’ll remember the way our heart ached for the high school Seniors. We’ll remember meeting our neighbor for the first time and learning that his daughter would check on him, and that we would too. We’ll remember the way our kids’ eyes lit up when they saw their classmates on their computer screens and the way our heart warmed at the sound of the teachers’ voices behind the closed bedroom doors … One day we’ll remember the good stuff and we will be better than we were before. Happy Mother's Day, moms. You've got this.