It’s been such a long, long time since life was normal. And today, with the surging cases (again), the hope of this virus situation ending soon dwindled into non-existance… We were all frustrated, including my 7 year old. As a happy-go-lucky child, she can usually find fun things to do. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel frustrated. Kids express frustration in different ways than adults. They misbehave. They show a bad attitude… The list can go on and on. We as adults have not been in any type of situation like this, either. It is our first time to cope with such prolonged social distancing, too. Sometimes, kids can unknowingly open a window to a solution that, if us parents can catch that fleeting moment, will do us all a lot of good.
Such a moment came this afternoon. Daughter and I were outside playing in the cool breeze after the rain, getting some fresh air. She looked at the empty street and said, “I hate this virus!” Instead of reminding her to stay positive, I suddenly realized that *she* is the one who’s doing a truly emotioanlly healthy thing! As I stood there in awe, she continues, “If it was not for this virus, we’d be somewhere on vacation! It’s summer, you know! But we can’t go anywhere!”
I let out a sigh of agreement, empathy, frustration, and relief, “Yeah… I agree with you. If it’s not for this Covid-19 stuff, we’d be somewhere having fun. But instead, we are stuck here when we should go somewhere.”
“Exactly!” She exclaimed, happy that I got her point, “Last summer, we drove across 3 states and visited 2 friends! That was really fun. I miss that! But now, look how beautiful the summer is! But we are stuck at home. Here.”
I echoed, “You are absolutely right. Just this past December, we went to Cincy, remember? With A and her family?”
“Yes, we did!” Her eyes lit up with excitement before disappointment fell back, “We went to all of those fun places, the museums and the zoo. We also went to visit M and his family. It was so much fun! But now… We can’t do any of those. We’re social distancing!”
“And that trip to Cincy was the last time that we went out of state to have fun.”
“And I JUST started playing with my friends in the neighborhood, then this surge happened!” She stood on the driveway, pouting. I stood lamentaing with her, silently agreeing with every word she said, grieving together with her for our loss of free roaming fun and physical closeness…
We decided to shout at the air, “I hate this bad virus!! Go away!!! Go away!!! Go away…!!!”
After all were said and repeated as much as needed, in the increasingly hot and strong wind, she suddenly turned back to face me, her eyes met mine. She smiled, “But luckily me and my friends can still FaceTime and Zoom. I’m thankful that we can stay at home and stay healthy. I hope daddy and all the people going back to work stay healthy, too!”
“What a lovely thought!” I smiled back, agreeing with her, “I love what you said, *everything* you’ve been saying.”
A gust of wind lifted our red dresses, like two cardinals dancing, singing a duet. I laughed quietly to myself — as her pediatrician observed about daughter and me quite some years ago, without intentional planning, our outfits always coordinate. I’m glad we do.