Our Teens Miss Their Old Lives and It’s Breaking My Heart

With the season changing and the holidays at our doorstep, my kids have been reminiscing a lot– something my teenagers don’t often do. Sure, they often talk about certain things that happened when they were younger, but this year with everything feeling so heavy and hopeless, they are really nostalgic. 

My teens miss their old lives. (Twenty20 @vesnoi_)

My teens have gotten nostalgic

My son has started waking up early every morning to make his breakfast and shower before he has to log into school at 8. His desire to sleep in or procrastinate has diminished which has been a blessing. There’s a catch though.

He seems sad and a little lost. He can only spend so much time doing his school work, and lifting weights in our basement gym. The novelty of getting to spend more time hanging out and playing video games or staying up late has lost its luster.

I realize how lucky we are. We get to be together, I don’t have to work outside the home, and we are all healthy. But my kids miss their old life and it’s starting to get to them.

As much as they know the importance of staying to themselves, the recent spike in Covid cases has made them feel more gloomy. They were hoping to return to school in January but now, it looks like that won’t be happening for a lot of students in our area.

They haven’t seen friends, or in many cases, family members and here we are, almost a year since this pandemic started and it seems like there’s no end in sight.

My teens miss their old lives

The other morning he came downstairs. It was Saturday, a day that used to hold significance for my kids and something they’d look forward to but now it seems like it’s just another day to get through.

“Remember last year at this time when I’d get up early on Saturdays to go to work, and we’d always pass each other because you’d be on your way to spin class, then I’d usually spend the night at a friend’s house?”

“Yes, I remember,” I said.

“I miss that,” he said. “I miss being busy.”

My son doesn’t talk that way. He’s very much a teen who doesn’t get nostalgic or reflect on his past life. 

While I don’t think it’s a bad thing by any means–he misses his old life and has a newfound appreciation for it–it’s not an easy thing to watch.

Parents all over the country are watching their kids miss things: sports, friends, dances, games, parties, work and school, getting together with family. But most of all, we are watching them miss normal life. I don’t care who you are, seeing your child sad and feeling helpless is a horrible feeling that makes you feel like you are sinking.

We parents wish we had answers

We wish we had answers for them. We wish we could tell then when this would all be over and when they can have their life back. We wish there was something we could do. Missing your old life is hard enough when you have made the choice to change it. Whether it’s walking away from a relationship, taking a risk to start a new company or job, or breaking a habit we know isn’t serving us.

But it’s quite another thing to have many things you rely on like your routine, connections, support, hobbies, and friends, get taken away from you and not know when they are going to return.

Our kids are missing their old lives, and it’s really painful to watch. And with each passing day, it seems to get harder. We all thought this would be over by now. We are trying to step up the best we can but we are so tired we can’t see straight.

And yes, we all miss our old lives and are left to pick up the pieces for kids and ourselves.

We will never take the little things for granted again

As hard as it is, I keep telling myself we won’t take things for granted ever again. The big and the small, and even the things we found annoying like having to run to the grocery store to grab more milk without having to worry about the risk.

It’s a silver lining and a way to put a positive spin on how much this truly “sucks’ as my son put it. And the only thing we can do right now is our best by letting them know that they are missing their old life and that it’s normal, and more than okay.

More to Read:

Despite the Pandemic, Here are the Family Rituals That Keep Us Sane

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 .

Read more posts by Katie

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