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How the pandemic is really affecting our children…and why you have more control than you think…

By Brandy Browne

Earlier today, I took a shower. Not exactly a remarkable occurrence, I know. I ran a couple miles this morning, and then spent some time deep cleaning around the house, so I definitely needed one. Afterwards, I was drying my hair and applying my makeup, and I tuned in to the little human next to me, casually giving me the side eye as she “fixed” her hair and applied lipgloss and mascara. Big eyes and sweet button nose, she is her daddy’s mini, but she loves getting dolled up like mommy. She has watched me enough times that she has my makeup routine down better than I do…ha!

That’s the thing though…she (and my other two children) take cues from my husband and I. If I am panicking or sad, she picks up on that. When their daddy and I are happy, the whole house bubbles over with silliness and giggles. A child takes their regulation cues from the adults in their life. 

There are so many things we cannot control. People will get sick. We may lose loved ones. In our case, school has floated from in person learning to a hybrid model to fully virtual learning over and over this year. The economy is in distress. But I have a choice to make every day when I get home. I can spend all evening tied up in the news, allowing that to seep into my interactions with my children, neglecting to focus on the good that is still out there. Or, we can focus on those big sweet eyes and smiles and choose to infuse so much love into our evenings that the little people in our lives know that everything is going to be okay. That this too shall pass. 

We have to have conversations with our children. It would be remiss of me to say that honest conversations are not important. However, you tend to get what you are looking for. If I only focus on how this is affecting our children and our livelihood, I will miss the good. The twinkle in my daughter’s eyes as she chases chickens around our yard. The sound of my son’s giggles as he jumps on the trampoline. The talent my oldest possesses as she sketches in her sketch book. And, I don’t know about anyone else, but I do not want to miss those moments. I have had more time with my children than ever before. I have sat with my oldest while she agonized over that math problem, and I have seen her eyes light up with victory when she finally figured it out. I had no idea my son could read so many words. I noticed that my youngest diva in training gave her pumpkin eyelashes in her PreK art project. I have held each one as their breathing grew heavy, and they took rest in the comfort of my arms. 

Don’t let fear let you miss all the little moments. Straighten your back, and head forth in love to conquer all that tries to bring us down to succumb to doubts. Our children are watching who we evolve into during this time. Will circumstances make us hardened and bitter? Or will we love just a bit harder because we understand time is precious? I’m choosing to love. And to hide the red lipstick. Because she is always watching. 

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