And so it began…
While sitting waiting for the kids to get off the school bus, it seemed as though spring was nearing. The bus pulled up and the kids came running to the car with a look of excitement mixed with shock. We drove up to the house to watch the governor’s message as the kids discussed the looming virus. So there is a crazy virus circulating. We will all lay low for a few weeks and let this die-off. The weather is warming and in no time at all, we will be back to normal. Little did we know what was ahead.
So how does this work with a very social fifteen-year-old in the house? Can we allow them to socialize in small groups or should they all stay at home? What will they do about spring high school sports? The questions seemed to be never-ending and the answers were difficult to come by. After talking to other parents and doing some reading I chose to be the mean mom. With school being canceled so was socializing for those at our home. Needless to say, this was not met with a positive response. To say he was mad at me was an understatement.
Reality sets in…
The weeks began to roll by and the grumbling and groaning by the teen in my home continued. The reality of this virus impacted our home once we had a family member admitted and testing positive for the virus. The willingness to listen to mom about staying home seemed to improve once the virus had a name and a face. Our staying home could save the lives of friends and family and that wasn’t a lot to ask. And surprisingly that seemed to stick in his brain.
I, like many parents, seemed to move into a survival parenting mode at this point. Luckily my position evolved into a work from home role which worked perfectly with the school regimen of the kids. I won’t lie the management of the teenager’s schedule was more work then the other two younger children combined. Did he spend way too much time in front of a screen? Absolutely. Was his sleep schedule out of whack? Completely. But who had written the handbook telling any of us how to parent a teen through this? And the answer to that was no one.
With the cancellation of the spring sports seasons to be followed by the decision to continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year, it was a lot for any teenager. The social life of a teenager is what makes the teen years so memorable for so many. When it seems that every portion of their social life is impacted by something that can’t even be seen it’s truly unbelievable. Not only has this virus caused a loss of life, but it has also taken moments from our kids that can never be replaced. And both situations are truly heartbreaking.
What was learned…
The Covid-19 pandemic is something that none of us ever dreamt of living. And as parents definitely nothing we could have prepared for raising our children with such looming unknowns. The teen years are challenging under normal circumstances, but when being forced to place a vibrant child into a bubble for their own well-being and that of society we do the best we can. The best is being grateful in a strange way for the stopping of time for a bit to savor the few remaining years I have with this boy. Game nights, old movies, and late-night homework sessions had to happen because there was nowhere to go and time was what we had. Nowhere to be in the morning let me watch him sleep like I did when he was little without him questioning what I was doing.
I am grateful for what the pandemic did to make me a better mother of a teenager. It forced me to slow down and think before I would criticize. Watching the eldest child of my three have the time to spend with his younger siblings instead of running from one activity to the next was priceless. We as families of teens lost special moments no doubt, but there were many day to day experiences that seemed a little bit sweeter to this mom and I hope many other parents as well. Covid-19 may have taken a lot from our teens but their loss came with some very unique gain that it may take years to realize and truly appreciate.