“I just want my real family back! I want my real life back!”
In context, my daughter was asking for her “real” mom – the one who is not also her teacher and makes her do school work at home. What she wants is her normal life back. Routine. School. Gymnastics. Her teacher. Her Coach. Mommy just as Mommy.
And don’t we all?
This doesn’t feel like real life.
I felt compelled to share this because my daughter has had a lot of fun this weekend at home. She has played games with me and her grandma. She’s done puzzles with Pops. She’s played in the hose outside. We’ve gone on a bike ride. She built an epic fort in the kitchen. (Kitchen?) She’s connected with some friends on her kindle to talk “face to face.” We baked cookies and had a night beast watching TV.
Perhaps many other kids are having similar fun times at home.
Underneath it all though, kids know that something is wrong. They understand that there is a reason they aren’t going to school. They probably know it’s because of coronavirus or Covid-19. They see that we are all quarantined to the house and haven’t left to do, well, anything in weeks. They feel the stress of the adults in the household, no matter how well it’s hidden.
And they don’t understand. Not really. Not even if you explain it. Because they are kids and they’re not built to understand grown up problems like a pandemic virus spreading through the world.
I’m glad she doesn’t really get it.
But these kids do get that something is wrong and they feel it and they may need an outlet for it.
My daughter is usually pretty good about verbalizing her feelings… when she’s ready. And I think she put it pretty clearly what most kids… what most people… are feeling right now.
We just want our real life back.
She cried. I let her. I told her that her feelings were valid and normal and it was OK to feel that way. That I felt that way too and many other kids and parents and families were feeling the same way too. And that it was OK to cry and be sad for a little while. I told her she could cry on me for as long as she needed and I would be sad with her because we need to let those feelings out when they come.
So we were sad together.
She was not alone in her sadness. I gave her time and a safe place to be sad over all the changes that are going on right now and that was what she needed. And I needed it too, to be honest.
When she was feeling better, we talked a little bit about why we were staying home (which she already knew) and we also talked about choosing to look for all of our blessings and things we can be thankful for. We talked about keeping our eyes on the positive things because it just makes life so much better to focus on good.
But also, that if we needed to be sad again in the future, that we could do that too.
Life is an up and down journey and there is room for all of the emotions. Sadness has a place in our life and when we are feeling sad, we need to feel it, accept it, and let it out.
Then we can pick ourselves up, and keep going.
Our kids need the same and we can help them with this. Help them with their sadness. Sit with them and give them a chance to talk out their sadness and their feelings over what is going on right now. They miss their normal lives. They miss their teacher and their friends and their sports. Let them talk about it and cry if needed and let it out. If they need it.
Then move on to focusing on the good, the gratitude, the blessings. Just don’t forget to leave room for sadness when it’s needed.
Happy Monday, Friends. What a growth period we are in!