Dear Anxious Children,
Let me first start off by saying, “I am sorry!” I am sorry that I don’t have the words to offer that will make things better and you less afraid. They did not give me a book of instructions when you were born, and even if they did, I am not sure if that manual would have a chapter on pandemics.
I am sorry that we adults have forgotten you are still kids
I am sorry that you are feeling lost, unheard, and perhaps even alone; as if the entire population of adults around you have gone insane. We have. We are so busy fighting with each other over whether to wear masks or to open schools or go virtual, that we are forgetting about you, the very people whom we are supposedly fighting for.
I am sorry for forgetting sometimes that while you may look like adults you are still far from being GROWNUPS. While you have many moments of maturity I forget that those are the exceptions, not the norms. Your teenage brains are still developing and you are still trying to figure out who you are and all these unknowns and horrifying stories, images and statistics you see must make you so frustrated and even more scared.
Would you be surprised to know that I feel the same?
We are sorry for assuming that you’re okay
I am sorry for assuming because you smile and laugh, text with your friends, and play video games in your room, that you are okay. How could you possibly be okay when life as you have known it has changed. That you, my sweet girl, and all your ideas of what you thought your senior year of high school was supposed to be like suddenly have been snatched away and replaced with temperature checks, plexiglass separators or worse yet the confines of your own bedroom with your college sophomore brother sitting in his room across the hall.
I’m sorry I don’t have the answers you seek, heck, I am not even sure what questions I am supposed to ask! I can’t guarantee that you and our family and your friends will not get sick. I only can make decisions based on what I know, which I sadly admit…is not a lot. You say that you don’t know who to listen to and whom to believe…I feel the same way!
You both keep looking at me for guidance, but I admit it, I am winging this. When you were born, and I rocked you to sleep never did I imagine that these would be the kind of things that I would need to protect you from. And now the realization that wrapping you in my arms is not only not enough but could even make you sick…is crushing.
I can’t tell the future
While I may not have a crystal ball to see what comes next, I want you both to know that I see you! I see the anxiety in your eyes that you try so hard to mask. But, I also see your courage and compassion.
I see how hard you work and how deeply you care. I see your desire to make a difference because if wearing a mask or not hanging out with your friends can possibly help from spreading this horrible virus, you will do it!
For that and so many other reasons I am so proud of you and honored to be your mother.
We are in this together my dear children. I encourage you to feel your feels and then together we will do our part and hopefully move on. In the meantime, hold onto your dreams, hold on to your wonderful sense of humor and even though I know it would be so easy not to… hold onto hope. Please.
I love you more than mint chocolate chip ice cream on a hot summer day.
More to Read:
Stop Yelling at the Teens, Just Stop A surprising number of adults are behaving badly when they interact with teens who are just doing their jobs.
I Always Want to Be With My Kids and I’m Done Apologizing for It Writer Katie Smith talks about her devotion to her three teens and why she would rather be with them than anywhere else.