“But we weren’t even very good,” my 13-year-old declared, rather sheepishly, today when I told him that we were going out for a celebration.
It’s been two months, two months to the day I think, since my three younger children (and my husband) have been out of the yishuv. That’s a looooooong time to expect a 9-year-old, 11-year-old and 13-year old to entertain themselves. While the stricter guidelines were lifted in Israel recently, and my older children returned to school and work, my younger guys have been home. H.O.M.E. It looks like these kids are returning to school tomorrow (although oh my gosh how do I get over my nerves as they all leave the house to mingle with hundreds of others?). So, today was my chance to get everyone out. We grabbed a few pizzas and went over to one of my favorite places, Givat Oz V’Gaon, the nature reserve right by our house.
The kids ate their pizza, enjoyed the zipline and timed themselves running through the two obstacle courses. At one point, I told them that we were really proud of them and the way they’ve gotten through these two months.
And the 13-year-old said “But we weren’t even very good.” We all laughed a bit, and then I told him and his brothers that they were amazing. When, in the history of their lives, were they ever asked to stay quiet for hours at a time so that we could work; to try to get their schoolwork done in the house while on top of each other; and to stay inside for days, weeks, at a time without seeing their friends (or any humans outside of their family for that matter)?
The conversation got me thinking. We are heading into the wide unknown now, returning the kids to school and ourselves to our workplaces. It’s scary and exciting, overwhelming and a bit sad. But, whether you’ve loved this chance to be with your kids (or spouses or yourselves), or you’ve counted the minutes until you could return to regular life, I am declaring that you rocked it.
To that voice in all of our heads that said,
“But we weren’t even very good” or
“But I didn’t get everything done I said I would” or
“But I raised my voice a lot and wasn’t the best parent” or
“We didn’t eat as well as I had hoped” or
“I thought this would be the best time to lose weight but I gained instead” or
“I meant to have more time for (fill in the blank with just about anything)” or
“I thought we’d save money because of gas and trips, but look at that grocery bill!”
To that voice I say – YOU WERE VERY GOOD.
You were amazing.
You juggled to a level that you never thought possible and managed to keep it all together most of the time.
You rocked. You were amazing.
When I think about that first Thursday night when we realized that the kids would not be going to school the next day, or for the foreseeable future, I felt like the bottom was falling out from under us. It’s been a colossal task around the world for parents to juggle the needs of kids and work while trying to stay healthy, and continue cooking and cleaning and staying sane. And we did it. We did it while also creating new norms for Pesach (or Easter), Yom HaZikaron, Yom Haazmaut and more. We all did it (or are still doing it).
It’s not over. There is a very real possibility that we will need to go back into the cocoon again and that we will need to deal with far more days, maybe weeks, maybe months of continued issues. It may take years before we have a vaccine and before life returns to normal, or maybe it will always feel like a new, rather fragile normal. But whatever it is, we need to keep telling that 13-year-old of mine, and ALL of us around the world that we WERE THAT GOOD. And we ARE that capable. And we CAN do it, together.
Because while many of us might think that “we weren’t even very good” during this time – we were brilliant considering what was asked of us. And, hopefully, we will continue to be brilliant during the trials ahead.