It’s a scary and confusing time to be an grown-up. Most of my energy has been spent vacillating between nervous laughter and trying like hell not to spiral. Here’s one thing I know, history is unfolding all around us. Much like our kids want to hear all out the events of 9/11, their kids will ask about the Pandemic of 2020. And I expect they’ll have grown-up questions for us, too.
It’s too soon to know how the future will look back on this time. We do have a unique opportunity to affect the course of the story as it’s written by our children, though. Big decisions are being made for us, and whether you fall on the side of relief or rage, this is uncharted territory. Life, and the speed at which we’re used to, has come to a screeching halt. Things that we’ve come to expect, suddenly aren’t certain …. the Disney parks are closed, entire sports seasons have been cancelled, travel bans are in place. That’s not even the scary stuff … oil prices plummeted, the bottom fell out of the stock market, nursing homes are on lock down. How do we begin to answer their questions when there’s so much we don’t understand?
Our kids are watching us, more closely than ever. They’re listening to what we listen to, hearing all of the the ridicule, the rage and the rumors. Within a few days time, everything has changed. So many things are out of our control … hell, groceries aren’t even a guarantee right now! My family had a lot that we were looking forward to, this spring, and I’ve handed out more disappointing news to my kids in the past 24 hours than I can wrap my head around. I’ve tried hard to deliver it with grace and coach them to the understanding that this is much bigger than all of us. I know what I need to do with all my anxious energy, I need to shift it inward. I need to let things slow down, choose my words wisely and together, with my children, find the silver linings.
There have been more opinionated social media posts than ever before. One that continues to resonate with me, talks about the unique opportunity we have to teach our kids through these uncertain times. Teach them about public health, about being a good global citizen and looking out for the vulnerable. Leading by example, trimming away the excess and being content in each others company. It seems so strange to say this, but the only thing we can control right now, exist within the walls of our home. If we do this right, history will take note and our kids will look back having learned lessons as big and important as the emotions we all feel.
There’s no doubt that these next weeks and maybe even months will be hard. Our families have been turned upside down and the routine that we live for have vanished. For some, work is unstable and money might dry up all too quickly. For others, they’re in increasingly high demand and there are not enough hours in the day. This will be no walk in the park, but I know that if we pull together it will soften the blow. Let’s exchange worry for gratitude, anger for openness and disbelief for new possibilities.