Shortly after the birth of my third child, a group of my best friends gave me a muslin blanket emblazoned with the phrase, “Sh*t just got real.”
In that moment, when laughter bubbled over like champagne, I don’t think any of us anticipated just how true one blanket statement could prove to be.
Together and apart, we’ve navigated postpartum anxiety, termite damage, mastitis, hurricane warnings, potty training, divorce, and the death of a parent – to scratch the surface. Life is not a walk in the park. (Although we’ve done a lot of that, too.)
And now this. What in the world? This was supposed to be our year.
Coronavirus, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, self-isolation and shelter-in-place have, well … put us all in our place.
And nobody seems to know what to do.
At the heart of this, we are being asked to spend more time with the people we love. More time with ourselves. More time just to be.
Are we so uncomfortable with that?
I understand there are jobs, livelihoods and even lives on the line. My husband is an airline pilot – we know too well the realities ahead. It’s not like they’re going to keep flying those big planes around with nobody in them.
But can’t we just be still? Nobody likes being told what to do. Nobody likes being told to do nothing, either. We don’t want to be bored, but we also don’t want to have to juggle too much. Work from home and take care of the kids? It’s time to find out what we’re made of.
Maybe this is an opportunity. Maybe instead of rushing to make Pinterest-perfect homeschooling schedules we should embrace the lack of plans, take each moment as it comes, listen to our children and learn from one another. Do a little good – not so you can post about it on social media, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Bake one of your grandmother’s handwritten recipes. Paint a self-portrait. Explore your backyard. Write a card to a stranger. There’s science and math and reading and art all around us. We have a great opportunity to teach these things and more.
Let’s teach our children what it looks like to encounter a challenge and come out on the other side. Show them what it looks like in the middle. Show them patience and kindness and resourcefulness. Show them frustration and anxiety, too. Most of all, show them resilience.
This is not something to be afraid of, so long as we all do our part. This is a moment to embrace the unexpected – and become better because of it.
Yeah, sh*t just got real. But real is where the good stuff happens.