We were outside during the magic hour. As the sun went down my son looked up at the big sky. He looked around and asked if we ever wonder why we are here. He explained that he is just one small thing in the world and wondered why we are all here. It was a very existential moment for this little boy. Having similar spiraling thoughts, I understood exactly the way he was wondering. Recently, I had been wondering about the impact of all the isolation we are in. As I looked at my son's questioning thoughts, I hoped that all our children will come out healthy, physically, and emotionally from all of this.
Back in March, when schools shut down one week before Spring break, parents, teachers, and staff, truly believed we would come back a few weeks later. When the weeks went by and the lockdown rules became more and more strict, a friend mentioned that she thought we would be ending the school year at home. I could not process her words and couldn't seem to think past one day at a time. Now here we are in the middle of summer, facing the reality that school will not be reopening in the fall. My son, who had overheard rumblings about going back to school a few days a week, or part-time, was looking forward to seeing some of his friends again. When we told him school would start at home again, my heart broke when he began to cry. He asked why we weren't going back for just a few days, and when I explained that the virus is still a risk, he said, "Stupid COVID!" He continued crying and explaining that he really doesn't like home school. I nodded in agreement. I don't like it either. I thought I would, but it didn't take long for the shine to wear off, and the struggles each day to take its place.
We completed a weird school year, are in the middle of a bizarre summer, and will soon start another strange school year. Our feelings are all over the place, shuffling between wanting what is best to keep us safe through all of this, but also missing human interaction. I am to the best of my ability, trying to making sure my children are "fine." Making sure my children are okay is generally not enough for me. I strive for a bit better than that for them, but given the circumstances, well enough is as good as it's going to get these days. We have moments of pure joy, but we also have deep sadness about our reality right now. It will take some time for life to resemble how we knew it just a few short months ago.
We are all impatiently waiting for good news to present itself. For the first time that I can think of, the world is truly going through something together. The irony though is that as much as we are together in this, we have never been so separated. This is a broken time in history and like my son, I feel like just one of the many pieces trying to figure out how to connect together. When my children get upset lately, the issue rarely reveals itself as a result of this pandemic, but it almost always is the reason. I have to remind them -- and myself -- that this is hard for all of us. It won't be like this forever, but it feels like forever right now. Each day blends into the next and sometimes I feel that I choose activities for us each day just to distract ourselves. I give my permission to look for whatever way works right now. This is all so much bigger than us. I didn't answer my son's question as to why we were all here. I am not sure he was even expecting us to, but even if he was, I wouldn't know where to begin. When I start thinking about career, income, creativity, I get sad that they are taking a back seat right now, yet when I see my youngest look up at the sky and wonder, I am glad I have all this time with him to ponder it all, too.