When I first heard about COVID-19, I pushed it to the back of my mind, intending to consider it later. It never occurred to me that this was the ONE. A disease that would become a global pandemic, closing schools and leave us trying to stay healthy at home. But it did, and here is what COVID-19 has taught me.
My kids need me to be present in times of crisis.
Raising a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old is hard, even in the best of times. But trying to help them manage a worldwide crisis when they can’t fully understand what is happening is close to impossible. My first instinct was to try to protect them from it, hide them from the severity of what was happening. But kids are intuitive. Being safe at home took a heavy toll. First, the nightmares came, then the crying and missing friends. As a mom, I felt helpless. Then I realized, my kids didn’t need reassurance and pretty words, they needed me. So we started talking together about the virus, having worry minutes where we wrote down everything we were afraid of and talked about it. We are working through our feelings together, and that has made all the difference.
Face your fear. Don’t ignore it.
I have a child who is immune-compromised and a husband who is diabetic. To say I’m terrified either of them will get this virus is an understatement. My husband is a nurse and I work for the court system, so we are both considered essential employees. While we are grateful for the financial security, it increases our risk of getting sick. In the beginning, I spent night after night awake, worrying about my family. It took its toll. My attempts at homeschooling were failing because I was exhausted, and my work suffered because I could not concentrate. I finally had to admit that I was struggling with fear and face the reasons that I was afraid. Once I processed it, vented to my husband and friends, and cried my heart out, I was finally able to deal with what life was throwing at me.
Family is important, but so are your friends.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re all struggling. Dealing with COVID-19 is tough. Our lives have been upended and our routines thrown off track. It’s tempting to hunker down at home, wrap our arms around our family, and pray for the best. It’s so easy to isolate yourself during this time, but please don’t. I am fortunate to have an amazing support system of friends. Those stolen moments when we have a Zoom chat or plug into a Google Hangout are life-bringing. They leave me refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face the world.
Crisis brings us together.
I am amazed at the way we have pulled together as a society during this pandemic, reaching out to support each other from a distance. It seems that social distancing has made us appreciate physical connections. While we are still tied to our electronics, the past few weeks have brought a flurry of Facetime calls instead of texts, phone calls instead of emails. It’s refreshing, and I hope it lasts.
Quarantine is tough, but we are tougher.
We will make it through COVID-19 and be the better for it. Things won’t go back to normal. We’ll have to create a new normal and, if we are mindful of the lessons this virus will teach us, that new normal might be even better. It’ll still be scary – COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon – but if we search through the ashes of what’s left, we might find a resurgence of the human connection we somehow lost along the way.