My husband has been out of town for over a week now, and I have been doing the single-mom gig. And, of course, within 48 hours of him leaving, my youngest was diagnosed with strep. (They always wait till Daddy is gone.)
When the weekend came, we were on lockdown. Three kids and I were shackled to a house for two days. Redbox and Netflix helped, but I needed to take advantage of the opportunity to actually DO something with my munchkinheads. The doctor said that if we could make it the weekend, we’d probably be in the clear as far as the nastiness spreading.
I stocked up on paper cups and plates and we tossed them after each use. We washed hands, threw out toothbrushes, washed sheets, and did all we could to avoid any spit swapping.
To pass the time, we played countless board games (Sponge Bob Clue, Uno, Battleship, Charades, Pictionary, Sorry and Checkers), had a pillow fight, danced our little Mii booties off, baked homemade cookies, made chocolate chip pancakes for dinner, scrapbooked memories, created a countdown to Christmas chain, and had lots and lots and lots of laughs.
When my daughter said that her favorite part of the weekend was seeing me smile “a whole lot,” I realized just how amazing the time was.
What I came away with is a reminder that, yes, parenting is hard… DANG HARD… but I love it. I love my kids. I love spending time with them. I love reconnecting with them. Sure, I hate fevers, random expulsions of bodily fluids, and middle-of-the-night visits by a sickly preschooler, but those things are part of what makes the bonding between parent and child so unique.
As stressful as it is to be stuffed into a difficult situation like a quarantine, sometimes obstacles like that are presented to us to make us reconnect with what’s really important.
I’m not saying that my writing isn’t important. My volunteer efforts, the housework, extracurricular activities… all those things have their place. But it can also be really easy to be distracted by those things and forget to be in the moment when I’m with my kids. They are only young once. I need to seize every hug, kiss, tickle, and nasty bit of potty humor I can because they won’t be my little munchkinheads forever.