Big feelings from little people

There is a post circulating on Facebook and other social media which lauds our kids for being cheerful during this pandemic and lockdown. While my four are doing okay, they have a stable environment, and weren't ripped from school and daily contact with friends. Those for whom the story is different aren't doing so well. My sister-in-law is a counselor for an at risk school, and said many of her students are struggling with depression.

Some of Lo's friends for whom homeschooling is new are feeling the weight too. And those children who received love and food at school, but nowhere else are now experiencing a nightmare.

I am a scientific person, so I am watching the trends and numbers coming out of the medical community. I believe the quarantine, and most other guidelines are in our greater best interests. But the losses these little people are feeling are not lost on me.

While Will has done okay for a while, he is starting to really feel some of the weight. I think he's done well because we have worked hard at creating stability, being honest with the kids, and giving them just enough information. We are far from perfect parents, and are struggling too. Our work loads are different now. We are trying to figure out what everyone's needs are, and how to fill them.

Will has been having more meltdowns lately. He is trying to deal with his feelings, new expectations, school, childhood, growing up, and me working. Last night, I held him through one of his biggest in recent years. He misses the animals we used to spend hours a week with. We were ripped away from our beloved farm without an opportunity to say goodbye to them. Well, I chose to stay away to keep others safe, but without warning to any of us.

The not knowing is a large part of his struggle. He is so at peace when he knows what to expect, when, where, how long. He can't have any of those needs met right now for longer than a day. Sometimes even that changes unexpectedly because I am needed at work longer.

As adults, we can plan out our what ifs based on a number of factors, and prepare for many. Little may surprise us anymore. Kids, like Will, rely on outside sources for decisions, and have little control in their lives. Even when parents give kids choices, much is decided for them because the parents are the ones holding and budgeting the money.

So, yeah, our kids are amazing and resilient. But they are struggling big time right now. They are powerless to change any of what they are experiencing, and are completely at the whim of what the adults around them choose. While many of our choices are on hold right now, we still have the power to help our kids rise up. They can come out of this experience with compassion, and a greater sense of responsibility. If we help them get there.

Maybe I was wrong to tell Will this, but I told him I tend to prepare myself for worst case scenarios so when they happen, I am ready. When good things happen instead, I can be pleasantly surprised. I don't know if he will follow suit, and I don't know if that was right. But I felt like I needed to give him some sort of advice. I don't always give advice, though. Often, I listen, hold, and hug. So, big hugs to you and your precious littles!

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