These Times Are Changing My Kids’ Relationship With Me And Each Other

My daughter has been sleeping with me every night for the past two weeks. It’s something she did when she was little, then again when her dad moved out three years ago.

I’ve told her over the past few years since she stopped snuggling with me at night and falling asleep under my covers, how much I miss it. Not really something a teenager wants to hear, or cares about really, but I like to get the reminder in there a few times a month in hopes our cuddle time will return.

teens making a pie
We’ve been cooking every meal together. (Twenty20 @brightideasfl)

I’m glad my daughter is sleeping in my bed again

While I’m glad it has, I have to say I don’t like the circumstances that brought her back to me. But nonetheless, every night when she sees me plug in my phone to charge, lock the door, and scan the downstairs to see what I can do to make tomorrow a bit easier, she says, “I’ll go turn on the television in your room.”

We lie in my bed until we both fall asleep watching whatever comedy appeals to us that night. In the morning, instead of turning off the alarm at 5:45am and rushing about to start my day, I’m able to stay with her, arms wrapped around her sweet neck.

My three kids don’t fight much despite being around each other 24/7 with zero breaks. They are polite when one is in the other’s way while brushing their teeth or trying to get something in the kitchen.

The lost time with their friends is spent with each other playing Mario Brothers or watching a Modern Family marathon.

When I leave to go to the grocery store once a week, at least one of them jumps in the car with me. They are happy to leave the house and sit in the sun while I shop. They don’t even bring their earbuds with them and have a conversation the entire time– something that wasn’t happening before this pandemic.

We are cooking every meal together

We’ve been cooking almost every meal together. Long gone are the rushed evenings when I’d scrape something together so we could go do the next thing. We are craving togetherness, conversation, and reassurance and so, we linger at the table a little longer.

My kids have been asking me to make some of the treats I used to make them when they were small– peanut butter cookies, my mother’s brownies, and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. It’s been a while since they cared about these recipes and now they are bringing them comfort the way a familiar taste and smell will.

My daughter is ahead in her school work—something that never happened when she physically went to school. It seems as though she’s taken to online learning in a way I didn’t think she would. I thought I’d have to be on her at all times just to do the bare minimum but she’s gotten up and turned on her laptop first thing in the morning.

They’ve gotten creative again. My daughter made a mobile for her room and her brother helped her string it and hang it on her ceiling which led to them moving her furniture in her room around.

All of these things are happening because we can’t leave our house and because we are scared. They are also happening because we are realizing what’s important in life and how quickly things can change and be taken away.

I try not to think about why these changes came about

I try not to think of it that way though. That will only lessen the comfort that washes over me when my daughter is sautéing onions and peppers over the stove and my oldest asks his brother if he wants him to throw a hot dog on the grill for him.

I can’t afford those thoughts right now.I don’t want to think our bonding is coming from lack. It’s coming from realizing we need to stick together through this because that’s what families do and it’s the only way we are going to survive this.

So, while I’m frightened and each day brings a new unknown challenge I am reminded of how lucky I am to have these three people in my life right now. That’s not just a little something to me, it’s everything.

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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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