Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have been existing in survival mode, doing the things necessary to keep our families safe. But I realize now I was existing in a different type of survival mode before the pandemic, one that involved shuttling myself from one activity to the next, ticking off the items on my to do list without truly experiencing most of them. Yet by necessity, the coronavirus crisis has changed my mindset, and allowed me to slow down enough to embrace the gift of time with my daughter.
Stopped in our tracks…
In my pre-stay-at-home life, I was subjecting my two-year-old daughter, Sophie, to a frenetic schedule. The mornings were a rushed affair: ten minutes for breakfast, no time for cuddles or jokes or kisses. Then it was off to daycare for a long day followed by a series of hurried evening rituals. My own schedule was packed with activity and pressure. Of course, the pandemic stopped us all in our tracks.
Gone is the long commute, the many hours spent apart, and the guilt that existed always, a different type of virus that thrived in the grooves of my mind. Gone is the exhaustion that followed me incessantly, and the endless cycle of daycare colds that would encircle our household. In their place are long mealtimes together, weekend afternoons in my daughter’s playhouse, and goodnight snuggles from mommy every single night.
No reason to rush
Now, when I am done with my at-home workday, Sophie happily splashes in the bathtub, and I let her play without rushing her to our next task at hand. Now I don’t deny her requests to build a block tower or to read books or to hunker down on the couch under a blanket together. Before the pandemic, there was always another responsibility; now, in the quiet that has snuck inside my soul, there is the realization that nothing is more vital than what she needs right now… and I have the ability to bring all of her desires to fruition.
Time to take it all in
We all know this suspended reality is temporary, the contents of tomorrow unknown. And for some, the destruction of our lives has been devastating. I am heartbroken for the damage this crisis has inflicted on families, on our economy, and all those who are struggling. But I also am awakened to the blessings right here at my fingertips that I now have time to cherish and to appreciate anew.
And as we collectively struggle through the grief of COVID-19, the sickness that has permeated our society and forced us to become still, there too is space — and the opportunity the coronavirus has created for a changed mindset. I have seized what was missing before in the absence of time: the feel of my daughter’s tiny hand in my own as we traverse the backyard together, the echo of our voices as we sing together while she bathes, and the clean, sweet air filling my body as I breathe it all in.
Read about some engaging activities to do with your young child at home as we shelter in place.