Could this be your finest moment and you don’t know it yet?
When I was 14, I had a serious case of tonsillitis. I can still remember the feeling of fresh clean pajamas on my skin, cool crisp sheets, and being tucked in like a burrito. The pain in my throat was like a hot poker which made me hesitate to swallow. Swallowing was so painful.
Why do I share this with you?
You may be going through a painful time. Your kids may be going through a painful time. They may be missing something important to them. A birthday party, graduation, a competition. Their pain becomes your pain. The list goes on and on.
The need to adjust is thrown at us so we don’t have time to recalibrate what doing a good job really means.
It can make us feel worried. What will our children remember? The disappointments? The fear? The fact that every meal isn’t well thought out or that you look and feel stressed? That you have to say no to seeing friends or have to limit their screen time? You may be worried about money. Or that you have to jump on to yet another meeting so you feel like you’re neglecting them.
Please don’t be hard on yourself. Their memory of this “hard to believe it’s happening” time could be those little moments of being together one on one, having an unexpected laugh, playing a game or having them teach you a skill.
Actually, little warm experiences that may not have happened if we were back in our old routine. (Believe me, I wish that coronavirus wasn’t happening so I don’t want to be too “Pollyanna” about it but you know what I mean.)
I’m number five of eight children. When I was a young teen, we had moved from a large house in Indiana to a fairly small apartment in Puerto Rico so I had to convalesce in my mother’s room. On top of being sick, I was having a horrible adjustment to the move. I missed my friends and leaving the summer before that greatly anticipated eighth grade year was really hard.
When my mom came to give me medicine, bring a popsicle, lay her cool hand on my feverish forehead or just to check on me, we ended up having a string of short but soothing conversations. It’s one of my most cherished memories. And guess what I don’t really remember? Was she stressed? With 8 kids, as I look back, she must have had a lot on her mind and she must have been exhausted.
What are your memories? Whether you had a parent who stepped up in big and small ways during tough times or if not, either way, those memories could be telling you something.
You don’t have to be perfect but if you’re present (even for short bursts), this may be your finest moment.
In other words, this may be your new best because making memories has not been cancelled.
I’m cheering you on.