1 In Life

A Letter To My Kids During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Adeline and Barrett,

This has been a March I will never forget. And I hate more than anything that you’ve had to experience it too, but I pray everyday that we come out of this stronger, and closer than before. I pray that after this is all said and done, you remember that you got to spend a lot more time with Mommy and Daddy, at home. In your home. The first home you’ll ever remember. I pray you remember how late we stayed out in the backyard playing before bedtime, and how many movies we watched together snuggled up on the couch. I pray you remember taking long walks in the sun, and jumping in the puddles after seemingly endless days of rain. I pray you remember building forts in the playroom and playing with Legos all over the house. I pray you remember planting flowers and digging in the dirt. I pray you remember coloring with chalk on the sidewalk and waving to our neighbors across the street. I pray you remember getting to watch Frozen 2 an unprecedented number of times. I pray you remember riding around in the car watching a movie in the ‘Mommy Mobile Movie Theater’. I pray you remember coloring and crafting and taking long, drawn out bubble baths. I pray you remember listening to music in the kitchen while we made dinner and eating together around the table. I pray you remember FaceTiming family members. I pray you remember learning how to wash your hands while singing silly songs and learning how to pray for sick people. I pray you remember listening to worship songs and watching our church online together in the living room. I pray you remember feeling safe. I pray you remember feeling loved. I pray you remember feeling joyful. And most of all, I pray you remember not feeling scared.

You see, we’ve just wrapped up two weeks of working from home in quarantine and essentially “sheltering in place.” It’s been a doozy, kiddos. And that’s putting it lightly. I’ll admit that I didn’t even know there was such a thing as this – because this sort of thing happens in other countries, not ours. The last day I went into my office was my 31st birthday – Monday, March 16. (Bummer of a birthday if you ask me!) The last day you went to preschool was Thursday, March 12. Or maybe it was Tuesday, March 10. I can’t even remember. Today is Saturday, March 28. And there is no.end.in.sight. They’re currently saying school might resume April 17, but I am still doubtful. The Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) is an icky, icky virus that’s causing lots of people to become very sick, all over the world. Some people are so sick that they’ve now gone to be with Jesus. The reason we’re staying home and away from preschool is to try and do our part in helping to prevent spreading even more germs and possibly becoming sick ourselves. They’re calling it “flattening the curve”, which is a fancy way of saying we’re ultimately trying to keep our hospitals and doctors from becoming overwhelmed. One day, we can better explain this, but for now just know that it’s very important we’re staying home.

A lot of people are really sad right now, and grieving the loss of lots of different things. The elderly aren’t allowed to leave their retirement centers or have family members come see them. Hospitals have restricted visitors. Seniors in high school are grieving not having prom and graduation parties. The NHL and NBA suspended their seasons. The Olympics have been postponed. Group gatherings of more than 10 people are forbidden. Family vacations have been cancelled. Universities have cancelled semesters or moved classes to online only. Study abroad programs were halted and students were flown home. Schools are closed indefinitely. Restaurants, bars, and gyms are closed. The stock market is tanking. Walt Disney World and Disneyland are closed indefinitely. The United States closed its borders to international travel and we are in a national state of emergency. It’s a pretty bizarre time.

I know it’s really quite confusing, and honestly, even to your Mommy and Daddy it feels like we’re living in a movie. Everything feels very surreal right now, and we constantly find ourselves asking, “how is this actually happening?” But, we’re living in a pandemic. And these days will be written about in history books. The same history books you’ll likely study in high school or college. Is it any fun? Nope, not at all. But we try to find comfort in knowing that God knew these days would happen. He knew that in this world, we would have troubles. And He already knows how it’s all going to end. He’s the ultimate history book writer.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Mommy and Daddy pray a lot, and our prayers lately have been asking for protection over the two of you – that your little bodies would remain strong and healthy and that your minds and hearts would not even bat an eyelash to fear. Mommy has been crying a lot more lately too, but know that when my tears fall, they’re out of love, and not out of sadness. Tears that are falling because I love you both so much and just want to protect you. Tears that are noticing how much you’re growing up now that I’ve been forced to truly slow down and pause our crazy life. Tears that are due in part to sheer exhaustion and anxiety that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Tears that are reflective of just wishing I could take it all away, but I can’t. Tears that are proof of a heavy heart and not enough strength to hold it all in. And if we both seem a little off-kilter, and short-tempered with one another, know that it’s because we’re doing this for the first time too. We’ve never parented or weathered a marriage through something like this. We barely know what we’re doing during non-pandemic times, let alone during a global health crisis. We’re both doing our very best to shoulder what feels like the weight of world in order to keep you both safe. In order to keep us safe. Our family safe. And in order to hold it together just long enough to make it through another day. We truly are living day-by-day it feels like. But I hope you’ll never question how much we love each other, and loved each other during this time.

Can I be honest? Most nights I fall asleep feeling like I failed you both in some capacity. Whether that be because I couldn’t give you enough attention during the day, or I couldn’t keep my cool when you came barging in on one more conference call or screamed and yelled outside my door while I tried to work because you just wanted me so bad. It breaks my heart when I feel like I have to choose between you or work and inevitably I have to end up choosing work., again. Having a demanding job, made even more demanding by all of this mess, has been a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose that won’t shut off. I hate more than anything that I can’t be your mom, your teacher, and your playmate all at once. I’ll admit that I haven’t had the energy to even attempt to teach you anything these last two weeks. It kills me that I know the number of times I’ve raised my voice at you far outweighs the number of times I haven’t. I constantly feel guilty that you so often now get the short end of the stick when it comes to my attitude and demeanor. Our routines have been flipped upside down and it’s been so, so hard. There’s a reason I feel like I function best as a working mom, and now that it’s collided with being a SAHM, I’m having trouble finding my footing. You guys are stir crazy and cabin fever is setting in for all of us and I wish more than anything I could tell you when things were going to get back to normal, but I can’t. And until then, I know we’re going to continue to function in survival mode. But just about the time we get this all figured out it will be time to ease back into “life before COVID-19” and this will all seem like a blur. I am thankful for your grace and short-term memory during this time – the kind of grace that only little kids can extend to their parents. I know you don’t understand any of this, and won’t for many years, but just know this – I am grateful for your unconditional love and for being my rocks even when you don’t realize you are.

I’m trying so hard to soak up these long days together, even when they’re harder than anything we’ve ever done. We’re getting to spend 24/7 with one another, and for that I am thankful. What a blessing it is to wake up each morning to the smiling (and loud!) faces of my perfectly healthy children. My dream children! I know you won’t remember it the same way we will. I pray you won’t remember the arguments and the timeouts, the tears or the disciplining. I pray you won’t remember the panic we felt picking up groceries or the fear we showed in our eyes when we scrolled past one more scary news article on our phones. I pray you won’t remember the restrictions and the 6′ rule. I pray you won’t remember not being able to play at the playground or with your cousins and grandparents. I pray you won’t remember asking questions about ‘the sick people’ and waiting for us to gather enough words to answer you the best way we knew how. I pray you won’t remember the crackle in our voices as we prayed over you at bedtime that God would heal the sick and the dying and somehow find a cure to this terrible virus. I pray you won’t remember.

We love you more than anything, Adeliney and Bear Bear. We’re going to get through this together. We’re going to find our groove and we’re going to make lemonade out of lemons. We’re going to not be so hard on ourselves. We’re going to find joy in the little things. We’re going to figure out how to homeschool and work and play and sing and dance and rejoice and laugh and cry and not take ourselves too seriously. We’re going to make lasting memories from a strange season where we spent an ungodly amount of time together at home. In fact, when life returns to ‘normal’, we may even be a little bummed to go back to being apart more frequently. We’re going to grow, in many different ways, and we’re going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay. (And one day you’ll get to tell your kids how you survived the great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020!)

Love, Mommy.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    April 6, 2020 at 7:33 am

    Wow. This post is achingly raw and beautiful. Brought me to tears. Your kids sure are lucky to have you and your husband. We are all in this together and God’s got us! Take care

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