COVID-19 has been devastating to many. Canceled events, impacted livelihoods, separation of friends/families, and the unfathomable loss of life. Each of us has been impacted in some way. Like most, my family has been impacted by moving to online school, remote work, and experiencing loss of activities, events, and connection with others.
During this time, I have kept a keen eye on my children’s social emotional well-being by establishing new experiences, keeping them busy, and shielding them from disappointment.
After hearing of the cancelation of our church live nativity, I was surprised when my 12 year old daughter became upset. The I realized it was yet another loss. This tradition of walking through the live nativity, an annual tradition that has been met with groans and complaints in recent years, was going to be missed. I quickly thought of what I was going to say next. After all, I had become adept at finding silver linings and discovering fun replacement activities to lessen the disappointments that had been all too common in our lives for the past eight months.
But, after scanning my brain for a reason that it was OK that the live nativity was canceled, I had nothing. My exhaustion of the constant search for an up-side won and I watched helplessly as my daughter slowly put her head down. We sat in silence for what seemed like hours.
She looked up and said “I really am grateful for my friends, school, sports, and everything we use to do”. And, I knew she meant it. It wasn’t a sitting around the table, sharing what you are grateful for quick response. This was a moment. A moment of true gratitude for what she had and yearning to have again. A life lesson that could only have been realized when allowed to sit in disappointment and emotion.
When we get to the other side of this pandemic, something tells me that she will remain grateful. And, I suppose the silver lining was there all along – I just didn’t allow myself to see it or my daughter to feel it.