Covid-19. Where do I even begin? For me it has been a surreal experience. I remember in the beginning, I was talking to a good friend of mine and I told him, “I keep having these moments where I think I have lost my mind. This can’t be real.” He told me he talked to his therapist earlier that week and said the exact same thing to her, she reiterated to him yes it’s real, no you’re not going crazy. We both laughed about it, and I think we were both happy we weren’t alone, you know, thinking we had had a nervous breakdown. 2019, and the beginning of 2020 had been a really rough time mentally, emotionally, in every way. It was during this time we really accepted what was going on with Wolfe FACE ON. He also had his tonsils and adenoids out in late 2019 which was an incredibly more trying experience for both kids and parents than most people realize. Wolfe had pneumonia late December and early January of this year. Then, of course, the entire experience with his school. So, the pandemic hit me like a wave of weirdness that I couldn’t really fathom, but who could fathom it? There have been many human experiences during this time that have been universal, and even that, is mind blowing. The entire world, from Paris to the indigenous villages of the Amazon, we are all experiencing the same thing (cue Twilight Zone music). W.T.F.
My Wolfe, my sweet little guy rolled with the punches in a way that continues to amaze me. This whirlwind of an often chaotic human being has handled the pandemic with the grace of any world renowned ballerina, and out plie’d and saute’d just about every single adult I know. I am PROUD of this. Around the second week of being “locked down” in March he kept asking me if we could go to the zoo. Although I know he does love the zoo, he isn’t usually asking me to go all the time. I explained to him that we could not go because the zoo wasn’t open because of the pandemic each time. The last time he asked me, I finally asked him, “Wolfey, why do you want to go to the zoo so badly?”, and he told me, “Mommy, because animals can’t get those bad germs”. Obviously he didn’t get the memo that the virus had originated with a bat, but regardless it made me aware of how much he was listening, and how he was curious and thinking about “germs” more than I realized. SInce then we have had several question and answer conversations about COVID-19, for my son knowledge is power, and yes I am PROUD of this too. Wolfe was not spared completely of feelings, of loneliness, of loss, even with his adult attitude and acceptance of this strange situation, he was still touched with emotion from time to time.
My guy was the easiest baby, from birth he seemed to be able to have this emotional maturity that was unique. When he did get upset, which was very rare, you could observe him almost suck it up, get over it, and move on with an insight beyond his years. He was a tough baby. Wolfe wouldn’t have crying meltdowns, instead when he was upset he might throw something, but very rarely cry. So, when I found my son crying in the stairwell of our home, talking to his stuffed animals about how he missed school, how he missed going to places, how he missed his adventures with his daddy, his grandpa, going shopping with mommy, his teacher, playing with “his kids” (that’s what he calls his classmates) it rocked me to the very core of my being. One, I didn’t have much practice dealing with this with my little guy, there hadn’t been many opportunities in his life where I had to talk and love him through heartache. Two, I had to suck up my own tears, because I knew if my little empath caught on to my own emotional breakdown, well jeez, then what? Three, and I think other parents of children that are atypical might be able to relate, wow, he was going through some really real feelings, and gosh it didn’t feel like a bad thing to see him not having a detached response to the world. He was coping, he was letting it all out, and so I let him. I sat by him on the stairs, I hugged him, I asked him if he was ok. He hugged me back and didn’t respond to me, but he handed me one of his stuffed animals. So, I had his stuffed animal ask him, and he was able to talk about how he was feeling. I think it is a moment I will never forget about this time. He has had less than a handful of down moments about the pandemic, and we are six months deep into this insanity. I feel like they are normal moments to have during this time, and I let him know that. He is a happy kid, in an environment (home) where he feels perfectly accepted and comfortable and safe. There is less pressure here than school for sure. He is able to be 100 percent Wolfe, with no obstacles to his creativity and curiosity. With that being said I am sure this child would jump at the chance to go tumbling through the nasty ball pit at McDonalds with all the joy of a Christmas morning.
In the beginning, March, which seems like 10 lifetimes ago at this point, we were staying very busy. Every day was a new fun project. I got caught up on a ton of home tasks. We did a lot of artwork. Then, there was the homeschool hectic period. Since school was let out in June, I feel like the days have become….blurred. We swim, we watch movies, we take walks, we eat snacks, we play, we build stuff, sometimes we go and splash around in the river and enjoy nature with Wolfe’s daddy. I feel like a giant brat sometimes because living in the country has allowed us all this beautiful space to roam and explore, I know we are blessed more in this way than many, and yet I am so very bored. At night we can see the stars in the sky and wonder and talk to the moon. The sunsets are as breathtaking as anything you might see in a gallery. The air smells like earth and agriculture. It’s nice. Yes I am fully aware I take it for granted more than I should, but man would I enjoy a day in what used to be my life. Slosh around a half melted Starbucks as I load up my cart in Target with cute but unnecessary items? YES, I’ll take it. Bump shoulders with a bunch of sweaty strangers at the county fair in 100 degree weather? Sign me up.
Ok, Ok, carnies, coffee fraps, and super cute clothes from the juniors section that I’m probably too old to wear but I don’t care because that’s me, aside, I do appreciate this opportunity that I have had with myself, and my son greatly. It has been this renaissance period of knowing myself better, for introspection, for knowing Tom better, and holding his hand with him through his own journey of developing as a little human. It’s really been awesome. That has been the great blessing of the great pandemic, we all, I think to some degree, are getting real with ourselves. Not always a walk in the park, but it’s growth. We have been gifted this chance to stop and smell the roses and really remember, or discover, who we are at the root of ourselves. We have been tested in our resilience, and our patience. This is important. I think of the art, the music, the philosophy, the literature that will rise like a phoenix from this mess the world is in right now. It’s going to be amazing. I think parents are able to know their children better now, and how insanely positive it is for them to grow in an environment where they are best understood, and bonded with family. We are allowing ourselves days to be down, bored when we feel that way too, those days are just bound to happen during this weird experience, but we really do try to stay positive, and forgiving of the jaded moments.
My mom and I were talking the other day, and we were asking each other how we thought Wolfe would remember this time, and we laughed about some projects we have done, silly moments, eating too many snacks, maybe a little too much Netflix. But what we agreed on, what made us really stop and smile, was that we were sure that Wolfe would remember that his family was resilient, and that we were able to be happy. We followed the rules to keep him safe, we came together as a family and kept our chins up and we owned the stupid pandemic. Our entire family’s resilience, our strength, will translate into his own resilience and strength one day, and perhaps he will find that part of his identity, through his family’s example.. That was a good moment, and it gave us a little boost to keep going.