Feels that way, doesn’t it? It feels as if the sky has been falling in for over a month now with no end in sight.
Will Coronavirus define us?
Absolutely. How we handle this very tense and fearful disease threatening to take hundreds of thousands will teach our grandchildren faith and patience or fear the unknown. Make no mistake: THIS IS A TEST.
Wherever your faith lies; God; yourself, or the Dalai Lama, then say, (fill in the name), grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Everyone needs patience now. As many times possible throughout the days and sleepless nights, try to keep calm and centered.
Our children and grandchildren, including teenagers, don’t have a clue that we're going through an epidemic that will hopefully hit this entire world only once.. The little ones will never understand why they are being ‘punished’ and can’t see friends or go to the park. Our teenagers are reading what they want to read on the net and feel this whole coronavirus is a hoax. They are bound and determined to see friends.
Whatever you do, when your grandchild gets the best of you try not to say, "This isn't just about you!" Bite your tongue, pinch your rear, do whatever you have to do and hold off.
With those five little words the hatred will grow; anger will increase and you’ll find yourself on a downward slope to nowhere. If you have younger people in your social online group then you know that everything they post is about them. “I’m bored.” “What a bunch of bologna this is.” I want to go out to eat.” I... I.... I.
If you want to win the game, you first have to play the game. Of course, we have to incorporate into the scenario that the coronavirus is killing people, especially older people. And yes, at their age they will survive, although some young people haven’t. Ask how they would they feel if they gave it to you? What if you ended up in the hospital and couldn’t cook for them or they had to go live with someone else? This is the perfect time to “coach” empathy.
Try hard to remember when you were growing up and everything revolved around YOU. If it didn’t then you were the perfect Stepford-type wife or husband that wasn't very much fun. : ). Refrain from saying you know how they feel. Forget about working at home, giving up part or all of your paycheck, or seeing friends you used to meet for lunch now and then, or that happy hour you used to have once a month. You will never, ever convince them you understand anything or have any idea what they are going through. Your words should echo empathy and concern. “It must be terrible to be without your friends… not to go to school… play baseball, etc. I can’t imagine what you are feeling. Now we’re cooking.
Encourage social media get-togethers. For the little ones if you don’t have parents from their pre-school or maybe Sunday school as friends on social media call the school or church and ask if they could send out one email to all the parents asking if they’d like to participate in a party-time break for the wee ones. If they want to participate they can sign up and the form will be sent back to every parent who wants to participate play dates. Connect with everyone and organize. Put on wild music so these kiddos can dance together; or giggle at each other on Facetime, Zoom, or another social app. Better yet, dance with them when they can't see friends. Dancing is one of the best ways to shake off stress; literally. Have parents take turns setting up a theme such as talking about their favorite toy, or superhero, or painting a picture or doing a craft together. Do it as often as you can so they can see that all their little friends are also being held captive. Encourage pre-teens and teenagers to do the same, and then give them privacy to hang-out with friends..
GAME TIME = BONDING TIME. This time together is important.. Make a date for at least one day or night a week to play a game. Make nachos or some other junk food to make it a special time. Remind everyone two days and one day in advance, adding that phones go off; computers closed and it’s family time for a couple of hours. This way there’s no excuse not to show up. If you have little ones Hide and Seek is a favorite of ours here. Luke hides; I know where he is but I go through every room slowly saying "Where are you?" before I spy him. He lets out a scream of delight every time I say, “I see you!”
When you’re making out your grocery list ask someone what they’re craving. If you have more than one child or grandchild, the next time your list is in the making, ask another child. If whatever is requested is a "yuck" to another child it’s no problem. You take out the carton of sloppy joe’s you made a ton of last week, heat it up and everyone’s happy.
Everyone needs to feel special, seen, and acknowledged.
WHAT ABOUT ME?
Essential to this whole scenario is to take care of yourself.
I know. I know. Everyone says they will but how the heck do you take care of yourself when you’re cleaning up messes 10 hours a day, slapping food on the table, cleaning toilets, doing the laundry, all the while trying to maintaing your sanity?
If you’re single and have a younger child finding fifteen minutes free time seems utterly impossible. The hours pass before you can take a breath and, before you know it, it’s ten o’clock when you fall into bed, sometimes fully clothed.
Especially during this turbulent time, ya gotta take fifteen. We all need time to refresh and give ourselves a pat on the back! Many times during the day I stop, bend over, breathe out stress and then slowly breathe in calm. AND I do this in the privacy of my garage.
I actually turned the knob on the door that goes into the garage around so that I can control the lock and no one gets in. When Luke bangs on the door I tell him I’ll be right in. That usually pacifies him for a while. If you have a child under three than take advantage of nap-time minutes. Sit on the couch or rock on your porch, and remind yourself that even if the sky is falling in you’re where you need to be.
FUN TIME: What's that, you ask. Well, we all have to grow where we're planted. And right now we're rooted in place.
Plan a TGIF hour with one or two of your closest friends. Toast each other via the net and then try to make your happy hour a positive, fun “bitch” session. Make fun of yourself: “I could braid the hair under my arms,” or, “The next time I go to the store I’m going to hoard tons of sleeping pills and pass out until this blows over.”
Again carving time out is difficult but if you have a partner ask for this time to go into your bedroom and chill with your friends. Lock your door and take no outside requests. If you have older grandchildren this won’t be a problem. If they are younger and you're alone wait until bedtime and let the fun begin.
Many have lost an adult child to addiction. God bless them as the pain is unending. If you haven’t lost the parent of the grandchildren you care for call them. If they don’t answer put this message on their voicemail: “I just wanted to tell you I love you.” That’s it. If they answer, say the same thing. Yep, this might not go as planned but nothing ever does. It could open up into another unhealthy conversation with a response something like this: “You never loved me....” and on and on. Your stomach may churn but keep any response at bay. Listen but don't participate. Prepare yourself for the worst and, before you hang up repeat the message again: "I just wanted to tell you I love you."
The one thing we all need to remember is that every parent loves their children. The child were removed because of this mother of a disease called addiction, or the parent lacked the emotional, financial, or cognitive ability to parent. We have the choice to decline to participate in a heated dissertation. I tell myself often that I could become yet another the victim of this killer of a virus and I do not want to leave any stone unturned before I hit the road.
Your adult child grew up giving you butterfly kisses, or picked a dandelion and gave it to you with a huge smile on their face. This is still the child you picked up and held when they skinned a knee or elbow and tucked in every night. Never forget that same child got lost somewhere along the way. Anger, hurt, and fear serves as guard; a protective shield against anyone who might say what they already feel about themselves.
You are, and always will be their parent and that will never end until you draw in your last breath.
We all have things going outside the coronavirus, whether it be finances or personal challenges. And I am no different.
On March 2nd my son (Luke's uncle that he calls Papa) was diagnosed with colon cancer. Except for a brief period-of-time Anthony has lived with Luke and me since Luke was released from NICU three weeks after birth.
Whether it be tornadoes or hurricanes or losing a parent or friend or cancer that comes a-callin' the world keeps revolving despite the coronavirus.
I’m not sharing our story to ask for donations as Lord knows I know the financial toll of raising grandchildren. My son's story is one of unselfish motives and those kinds of people are few and far between. He enjoyed being alone and orchestrating his own life. But love and compassion for his family was stronger than living a peaceful, non-complicated existence.
Just one of the many walks Papa and Luke have taken that began over three years ago.
Read our story here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/anthonydamrow
Bless you all for who you are and what you’re doing. We’re in this together. Take a peek at this newly formed group https://www.facebook.com/groups/grandsunite/ and join us as we share our stories and share our stories as united we stand to mold the next generation.
I love hearing from everyone so feel free to contact me at: