The Mama Vault–#11 WE SEE YOU
The following essay first made its way into the blogosphere as a guest post at HeyKailyMae.com. I’ve linked that website at the bottom of this post. Thought I’d post it here as well, just in case you missed it! As always, I’m so grateful you take the time to read along with my writing. My hope always is that my words will encourage you and make you reflect on things–which is exactly what the words do for me when I write them. God bless you all. -dana
You’re watching your children play. Maybe they’re playing dress up. Or they’re building blocks. Or playing on the swing set in the backyard. Or maybe they’re quietly reading a book. Whatever it is, it’s highly probable they’re doing it alone or with a sibling, because play dates have gone away for now. It looks like school is going away for a while too—at least school as you’ve known it. And you? The parent? You watch and you wonder what to do with this sudden strange set of affairs. You question whether you can keep all the balls in the air until the whole sordid mess passes.
As parents, you’re living smack dab in the middle of one large question mark. It’s such an uncomfortable place to be. It’s such a scary place to be.
And though you’d like to wrap your head around it all, where can you find the time and the quiet to get inside your own brain to sift things out? There’s never a place to hide to make your peace with the scary things so you can go be brave for your kids—because the kids are everywhere. And to be completely honest, it’s driving you nuts.
I want you to know something. We see you—the mothers who have gone before you—and we’re watching and feeling your fears and frustrations in our bones. Can you feel us circling the wagons around you—around you and your children? Oh, how we are. Our pack mentality is on high alert.
We see you weighted down with worry over how and where your kids will learn come fall.
We see you worrying how you’ll keep your job if daycares close again. We see you worried you’ll be laid off.
We see you drowning in the what-ifs.
We see you with your head on your pillow at night, unable to sleep—wondering how you can protect your babies from all the weirdness and anger and chaos. You ask God to put them in a bubble of protection so they won’t notice all of it, though you know some of it will get in. You pray the world will not mess up their childhood.
But there is something you must know—something we’ve seen in your children—in our grandchildren.
They’re still laughing.
They’re still having sweet dreams.
They’re still singing silly songs and eating ice cream cones with drips running down their arms.
They’re still swimming in backyard pools.
They’re still going on and on in their bedtime prayers because they still see all the good things and they want to say thank you.
To them, this upside-down universe isn’t upside-down at all. They’re hanging out just above ground level, and the world looks pretty much the same down there as it always has. The loud voices, the violence and the sickness for the most part happen way above their little heads, and it’s a blessing. For you and for them. Their laugh is their greatest gift to you in this middle time—in between the beginning and the end of it.
And it’s not just the little ones.
Even older children are seeing something good here. They have more time than ever to just be kids—to not have every moment of their day scheduled for them. They’re learning the joy of giving as they pitch in and deliver meals to shut-ins and keep yards mowed for at-risk elderly neighbors. They’re basking in the splendor of childhood, where there is a slight pause in the rush for them to grow up too quickly. They’re inventing their own antiserum for boredom. Bike riding has suddenly come back into fashion. Fishing has once again become thrilling. Meals around the dinner table have brought back hilarious storytelling that had gone missing, and they’re rediscovering the fun of family.
In a weirdly miraculous turn of events, the family has found its way back home in all of this.
So to you—our children raising your children—keep doing what you’re doing. You’re knocking it out of the ballpark. You’re adapting on a dime. When you doubt you have the strength needed for the ever-changing and confusing tasks at hand, close your eyes and imagine all the mamas in front of you. We are veterans in kicking butt and taking names and we have you surrounded and covered. We are your village, your greatest cheerleaders and your unofficial psychotherapists when you need us to be. We’ll help—we really will, and you know we’re praying. We’re all praying. And because we’re mothers, you know we have to say it. Get some rest, take some vitamins and eat some good food.
Your children have always known you’re a superhero, but the minute you put on your cute mask, the whole world could see it too.