COVID-19 really took it out of us. All of us.
Just look at this blog! I was posting pretty regularly and then, boom, COVID hit and I went AWOL!
I am sure everyone has their own stories related to COVID. I hope you all are doing as well as possible.
Where I live, COVID shut down many, many businesses. Some will never re-open. Many people were out of work.
For me, COVID just kicked everything into high gear. I was in a high-alert state for months. Months.
Let's think about this and unpack it.
Humans naturally have a fight or flight instinct. When ourselves or our families are threatened, we go into fight or flight. First, we try to flee. Well, there was no fleeing COVID. It was everywhere.
So then fight. Well, there is no vaccine, so we do not want to literally fight it. So, the best way to protect our family is to stay home. Avoid it. Avoid people. Avoid contact with the outside world as much as possible. Stay home.
After staying home since March 14... now September 9 ... well, let's just say things aren't pretty.
Weight has been gained. Hair has gone grayer. Bad habits have reared their ugly heads.
When under stress for long periods of time, your body naturally becomes exhausted. We are not used to being under attack for months. It is hard to handle.
It is hard to bear the mental strain and the worry that we feel for our kids, our spouses, partners, parents, and community.
It is hard to continue to stay home when, as a species, we are used to communing, traveling, mingling.
It is hard to keep up the strength to carry forward as best we can when nothing is the same as it once was.
There is a mourning period. We mourn those summer days and travel days that are lost. We mourn that our kids missed out on life moments - graduations, prom, summer camp, family visits, etc.
We mourn ourselves - our bodies, our minds, our mental health, our physical health...
So much has been lost.
I will be honest with you. I feel like I just survived a battle. I am just coming out of this intense brain fog where I just was trying to survive. Having kids home all day every day - yes, a blessing - is also a major mental exercise. We love them. But they are also having to deal with all this change. They don't really understand why they must be home all the time and can't go play at Billy's house. They understand but they also can't fully understand - at least not those who are younger.
They are confused. Mom and Dad seem stressed. We are always together. Yet, we didn't get to see our aunts, cousins, grandparents, etc., as much as usual. Do those people still exist our children might ask...
My children have become better at working together and playing together for many more hours than normal. They are resilient. They figure more things out on their own because Mom and Dad are at home but they are working.
My daughter now makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for herself and her brother every day for lunch.
My son is reading on his own and spends lots of time in his room.
They watch out for each other more. They create games and imaginary play together.
We, as a family, watch more movies. We play kickball almost daily. We work on the house.
We clean and cook and swim together.
However, my kids are also more clingy than ever. They worry every time I leave the house.
My daughter cries about sleeping alone. She cries when I have to go somewhere without her. My son asks to know the exact time I will be back. They ask about future things - like what will we be doing tonight? Will you be here to watch a movie with us? Can we do our morning routine even though you have to leave?
They want reassurance. They want more snuggles. They want extra time even on top of all the time we are already together.
School is starting next week. My kids are full virtual, however I know many parents whose children will be going to in-person school at least a few days each week.
I pray for these children and these parents. Getting back to even a partial normal is going to be a change all over again. Worries will be had. I am sure tears will be spilled. I pray that we can all get through this with our mental health intact. Parents hug your babies. We will all be OK but we will need to be even more gentle with each other as we start to head back out into the world - a new world.