I joked that the sound of shelter in place was the cocktail shaker at 5pm as my son – home from college – mixes margaritas. But I have realized the true sound is the knock on my daughter’s door as I check to see if she is okay.
My teenager spends a lot of time in her room under normal circumstances – as I can imagine your teens do as well. With no school, no work, no sports, no activities, no plans with friends, my daughter is spending more and more time in her room. She says she is fine…but I worry every day. So I keep knocking.
My daughter is in her room all day…why I knock on her door
I knock because it’s my job.
I knock because I care.
I knock because I love her so much. I can’t begin to explain to her that I feel her pain more intensely than she ever will.
I knock because my heart hurts to see her so isolated.
I knock because even though she may not want me to interrupt her, she wants me to care. She wants to know I am there – that I am giving her space but also reaching out.
I knock because sometimes she invites me in.
I knock because sometimes she decides to come out.
I knock because I can’t look at her door and worry anymore. I just need to see her sweet face.
I knock because through all of this, I am so emotional and I can only imagine the emotions of a teenage girl during this crisis.
I knock because I want her to know she is not alone. I knock because I wish things were different.
I knock because it is too hard for me not to knock.
I knock because it is what we do as moms.
We love with all of our hearts.
We worry with every ounce of our being.
We care more than our children will ever know.
So we just keep knocking.
Writing this made me feel vulnerable
I wrote this from my heart. It felt important for me to share these feelings right now. When Grown and Flown asked if they could post it on their FaceBook page, I was hesitant. It felt vulnerable to put these words out there where people could comment. I worried there would be criticism. Criticism of my writing. Criticism of my parenting skills. Or even just reactions from people who aren’t struggling and don’t understand why I am. I asked if there would be comments.
I am sure that the editor was thinking to herself, “Yes, crazy lady…FaceBook has comments!” She was much more diplomatic than that but she did confirm that people would be able to respond.
I almost said no. It is really hard to put yourself out there. Hard to show your insecurities. Hard to be vulnerable. Hard to risk criticism and rejection. I could just keep this in a journal, go for a walk on the beach, and not risk getting hurt.
But the reason I wrote this was to share my feelings in the hopes that it resonated with someone else…in the hopes that it could help another mom with the same worries and heartache that I carry. I believe that we as parents need to share our stories. We are stronger together. So I chose to be brave. And I am so thankful that I did.
The outpouring of kind, compassionate, heartfelt comments brought me to tears. What an amazing community of parents. People said: “I feel every word.” “I could have written this.” “Priceless to know we are not alone.” “This could not be more timely.” “I needed to read this.” “I feel like I am floundering as a parent every single day and this helped me feel less alone.” “This. This.1,000 times THIS.” “You have no idea how much this hit home.” “Got me right in the heart – live this everyday.” “Now I know I’m not alone.”
And now I know that I am not alone. We as parents need to be brave. We need to share our stories. We need to be loving and supportive of one another. We need to show our vulnerabilities. We need to support each other with compassion and empathy. Because we are always stronger together.
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Kristin Parrish is a mother of three living in Cocoa Beach, Florida. She is an almost empty nester, raising almost adults, and almost holding it all together. Long walks on the beach help.