My mom. My hero. Who I strive to be. It doesn’t escape me how lucky I am to have her right now. During this unprecedented, anxious, challenging time, she checks in on me every. single. day. (and honestly, checks in every day despite a pandemic!) to make sure I am managing well, that I am taking care of myself and to see how she can help.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what my Mom would have done for me and my siblings if this pandemic had hit when I was a child and school was cancelled. I have a feeling she wouldn’t be panicking about how to “educate” us but here is what she would have done…
She would have let me talk. And she would have let me listen to HER talk to our neighbours and my aunts and her friends about how they felt. They would be aware that I was listening and would always be trying to say the right thing to comfort me so I felt safe and calm. I would learn so much from her about connection and staying calm in the face of panic.
She would have turned off the scary news when I walked in the room so my worries didn’t become more or so that I couldn’t see the fear in her. She would have turned on Oprah or MacGyver and let me settle in next to her.
She would have taken us outside every day. Whether it was to play outside in the yard as a family or forcing us to go in a walk (😉) she would have made sure we got fresh air every day. And we would be mad about it and we would fight it but she would know how essential it was to our and HER happiness and mental health during this time.
She would have let us watch Inspector Gadget and eat our cereal in front of the TV so that she could get a load of laundry done or get the sink of dishes done as she wouldn’t feel guilty about it.
She would have moved all the furniture from the kitchen and washed that floor more than was ever necessary because she just needed some time to check out and think and assess her own needs and fears. And that’s ok. (And here is the proof that she loved to clean that floor to clean her head… Look at this beauty…)
She would have let us play. And play. And play. She wouldn’t be playing with us all day. She might make a bowling score sheet for us so we could bowl with our plastic pins in the basement but she wouldn’t have been there guiding every move of our play. She’d let us fight. And figure things out. And problem solve. And make a mess (and expect us to clean up the messes we made!) She would take joy in hearing the play going well and she would help us figure our stuff out when it went bad.
She would have laughed with us. Especially when she watched the boys dance in their karate pyjamas to La Bamba or when the 4 of us made up our own games or parades or fashion shows and asked her to be in the audience.
She would have taken the lead of the school the best she knew how full on knowing that she wasn’t a teacher and that she would not have the same amount of patience/resources/expertise as our teachers. If they told her that we needed to do our 9 times tables, she would have figured it out. But she wouldn’t have let it consume her or us or our time together. She would do her best.
She would have taken our lead. She’d watch for how we were feeling. She would lay down with us at bedtime. She would be aware of our needs. She would have been always trying to think about how to take care of us in the best way she knew how.
She would have done fun things like this. Airplane rides and forts and cartwheels and games. The laughing would help calm us and connect us. We would all feel like we could breathe together.
We would have returned to school not with worksheets and book reports but with memories made together, smiles and full hearts.
I plan on taking a page from my Mom’s book during this crisis. I will take our kids lead. I will try to listen more than I talk. I will let them make messes and expect them to clean up after themselves. I will let them explore and make memories without guiding them every step of the way. I will get them outside (even if I don’t feel like it). And I will make sure to make memories with them just like my Mom did with us.
Thanks for teaching me what I need to do right now Mom. I am grateful for your calming, gentle spirit right now. I am grateful to have had a such a wonderful example to guide me through this time. Moms of the 80’s know where it’s at.