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As Life Returns to "Normal", Can We Let Our COVID Life Go?

I’m tired. I don’t shower as often as I used to. I have close to ZERO me-time. I hear whining, and crying and my name – Mami – one million times a day. I have no time to call my friends… or my grandmas. When I finally manage to open my laptop to work, I spend half the time making snacks, consoling a crying child or threatening a sibling with taking away their electronics. Sound familiar?

Three months into this lifestyle, brought on by the out-of-the-blue Covid-19 pandemic, my lifestyle – and yours probably, too – has changed drastically.

As I scroll through social media, most funny memes show mamas on the verge of “losing it”. We’re drinking wine more than ever, and earlier than ever! We keep wondering how on earth teachers have managed their jobs every day.

As the school year wraps up and our cities' COVID rules are gradually relaxed, many of us want the kids back to daycare and back to camp. STAT.

With cases of Covid dwindling where we live, we're inching a lot closer to that much longed-for return to normalcy. My kids have been begging for camp. My son can't wait to rejoin his "bros" (for real) at daycare. Most days I’m excited about it too.

But for some reason, every time I envision packing two lunches for camp and driving them out to the farmlands for a day in the sun, I can’t help but feeling a tight, constricting knot in my throat. Every time I picture myself letting go of my son's hand as he alone is allowed into daycare, my heart breaks a little.

I don’t really remember what life felt like before Covid cooped us all up at home. A part of me is sad to let go.

Life before Covid was a blur. Every day was fast and frantic. We have three different school drop-offs, two lunches to pack, full-time jobs (including a traveling husband), dance classes, piano and swimming lessons, Hebrew school. Add that to birthday parties, weekly friend and family get-togethers and all kinds of medical appointments – our suburban life was chock-full. And it was beautiful. But it was also missing something.

We never had the time to sit down and take it all in. We never ever had time to do absolutely nothing together.

A scary virus gave me my husband back full-time. We drink coffee together every morning before home school and we connect without anyone or anything rushing us.

It has brought my children together like never before. As I write my oldest daughter is helping my youngest with the last bit of her French schoolwork. I’ll admit it, they fight like rabid animals at times. But they also hug and tell each other they love one another all the time. Their previously separate lives are now so much more intertwined, and it is incredible to watch.

It’s never going to happen again.

We eat homemade food most of the time. Yes, being an on-demand restaurant is exhausting and loading and emptying the dishwasher two to three times a day is hideous.

But watching my family eat good food around a table together twice a day is a dream. Cooking with my daughters is so much fun.

We also go out for walks every day and play outside. Our backyard is the wonderland we never truly valued before and we finally know who lives across the street from us, and next to us and a couple houses over too. Our sense of community is heightened. A sunset on our street is no longer routine, it’s a sight we cannot miss.

This might all sound utopian and naïve – and it is at times, because we cannot ignore the fact that millions have lost their livelyhoods and that for many of us, our mental health is taking a real toll. That we spend half our time battling our kids’ addiction to tablets, video games, TV and phones - I'm not talking two hours of videogames a day. I'm talking five.

I wonder if you also feel that split. I wonder if your mind is ready to slowly ease our littles back into "normal life" while your heart yearns for moments that will never come back. Because COVID has taken away a lot from us - people, jobs, stability - but in it's own weird way, it's also given us families so much.

xo C

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