Stormy Silver Linings

Post Courtesy of Unsupermoms

These past couple of pandemic years have been tough on everyone, not in the same way or to the same extent, but it is clear that children and adults everywhere are fatigued, even the lucky ones. And now, as we pass into the third year of the pandemic, and medical professionals raise concerns about the new omicron BA.2 variant, casting a shadow on our recently mask free exuberance and the early signs of Spring, I think it is a good time to reflect on silver linings.

These COVID-19 years have been no joke, but we have all learnt things, grown in new ways, or (re)discovered simple joys of some kind.

For me, one of the things that stands out from the Spring of 2020, if I look through the fog of panic, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, is how much time I spent with my kids. We rode our bikes almost every day, we discovered new parks around us, we had more picnics in that one Spring than perhaps in the rest of their lives put together. And then there was homeschooling… Not an adventure I care to repeat, but we learned side by side, we built dioramas of a dinosaur zoo and a dinosaur circus. We created timelines, we did science experiments, we made many, many messes in the kitchen! So as much as it was a scary and trying time, there are many great memories and mementos that we will carry with us, along with our new hand-washing habits.

unsupermoms silver linings

Another benefit of the pandemic, at our house (like many others), was that the boys had their dad around for the first time in years. He wasn’t always packing his bags and heading to the airport.

He certainly spent more than his fair share of hours on Zoom, and was still not available all the time, but there were lunch breaks at the park, or the local burger joint; afternoon games in the basement; early morning walks or family breakfasts. And perhaps most wonderfully, Dada snuggles at bedtime.

And of course, the decreased travel was a boon to the planet, if not the airlines! There was also less traffic on the roads, and we saw more foxes and raccoons in the neighborhood than anyone expected. There were rabbits hopping around the neighborhood joyfully, and birds and squirrels chittering more loudly than ever. In the mountain towns, there were moose in the streets and among the houses. The sky seemed bigger and the stars brighter. And the streets were full of children, strollers, bikes, dogs, grandparents. Families were spending time together and getting outside. They have since retreated back behind their doors and fences, and resumed their commutes, and it feels like a real loss, for nature and for families.

Friends found new rituals and different ways to connect. I started walking with a group of moms every week, and we supported each other through the fears of sending kids back to school, the details of sanitizing groceries, the worries about our parents far away. Some friends started walking to a local bakery every Saturday to get pastries to take to the park, or took pizza to the playground to enjoy with others, or ‘traveled’ the world learning about different countries and cooking meals to match their destination. Creativity became a necessity because we couldn’t go out the movies, or the bowling alley, or the mall. Families made things together – home-cooked meals, extravagant cakes and confections, fresh bread, or in our case a water fountain and sooooo many pompoms!! Some people took up new skills, with many baking bread, nursing sourdough starters, making their own yoghurt, sewing masks and headbands for medical workers. And the occasional ambitious soul learned a new language or took up botanical painting.

We learned to appreciate and enjoy our home, our neighborhood and our state. We drove around Colorado and took to wandering around in small towns, discovering mesas, mountains and valleys, exploring ruins. We learned that we didn’t need to fly to far away places or stay in fancy hotels to have a good holiday. In fact, these simple adventures and hours around a campfire gave us more time to connect and spend time together strengthening family bonds. And honestly, watching two boys covered in dirt and soot roasting marshmallows on a campfire as their eyes glitter with delight, is one of life’s great joys!

So yes, the pandemic has tested us all in myriad ways, and many days really sucked, but from my current vantage point, we have had much to be grateful for, and the slower pace of life has been a beautiful opportunity to stop and smell the roses.

Mama Carie Duck | Click here for more great UNsuper blog stories