August ’21: Children Keep Us Present

Here we are.  We had a brief break from the intensity of Covid, but the intensity is here again via the Delta variant.  With yet another scare, back to school, back to office, and back to any sort of normalcy seems like a dream we just keep trying to catch. We put our hands out and we are ready, stretching towards and happy to go back to modified old routines we once had, but yet again, it feels like it’s distancing itself from us.  

How are we going to get back to our new normal?  Unfortunately, this pandemic is not leaving us anytime soon.  So, how do we dig down deep again for this roller coaster of a ride? I look at reality and tell myself, “I’ll do whatever I need to do.”  Make judgments, but don’t judge others? Keep dreaming of better times? These are tough times; ones that most of us never dreamed of. Personally, I remind myself of all the things I am lucky to have, especially my health. How many times has it been said that health is the most important thing?  It really is. After that, everything else is “extra.” 

But how I miss the extra stuff! Like so many others have, I have lost a part of what was once my every day: my city life. It was my usual for over twenty years: the conveniences, the pace, the people, the resources, the ease of getting wherever you want, whether it be within the city or a plane ride away.  Yet this feeling I and so many others have right now still lurks. It is the dread of reversing the freedoms we temporarily returned to until the delta variant showed up and knowing that there will be other new variants. It’s just disheartening, and mostly for our children.  None of us want our children facing what they are living right now.  

Like we have done since this pandemic started, we do whatever we can to create the safest “normal” that we can.  In that spirit, my husband and I love taking our son to the beach.  We have gone to the beach either separately or to meet other friends, but for the first time this summer, we just went there alone as a family. I sat and I watched my son happily play in the sand, listened to the calming waves, and took in the smell of the ocean. Watching my two-year old son grounded me and brought me to the present moment.

As I sat there I realized that I was really tired. I knew that I needed to get home, get my son to bed, and then take care of myself.  I also promised myself that for the rest of summer I would do just this: go to the beach multiple times a week. Not just for me, but for my son too. Even though I say it all the time, I can and do still forget how much creativity and nature heals. 

So, I’m reminding anyone reading this to please don’t forget to do whatever it is that keeps you in the present and allows you to take a breath. Don’t forget this simple lesson during what have been hard and tiresome times: creativity and nature bring us back to the present, and by bringing us to the present, can heal both us and our children.  

In my reflection, I know this tiredness I felt at the beach that day- and that I still feel at times- stems from concern for my child.  My biggest wish right now is to end the worries from the past year and half. Right now, the vaccine is the only immediate thing that can protect our children. I hope that all the unvaccinated adolescents and adults who are eligible for a vaccine and have concerns would feel confident in going tomorrow to get the Covid vaccine. There have already been one too many children who have gotten infected, and my heart sinks each time I hear of another.  We all need to put aside whatever fear or reason that is holding us back from getting vaccinated for the betterment of our kids. 

Protecting our children’s health when they can’t protect themselves- that’s all that it comes down to. Maybe then we can put this virus to rest, and take a rest for ourselves.