A Tiny Flicker of Light
When the going gets tough … the tough cry. Little bursting cries. Big ugly cries. Lock yourself in the bathroom cries. Silent tears cries. So much crying. So much sorrow, uncertainty, fear, sadness, and frustration. Yes. This is what pandemic fatigue can look like.
It has been an exhausting nine months and though vaccines have been approved in Canada, and the first vaccines administered, the light at the end of this dark, dismal tunnel still feels so very far away. It is almost impossible to see the light. Almost.
What adds to this overwhelming fatigue is the knowledge that Christmas is next week. For those of us who are actually obeying the recommendations made by Public Health officials, we will not see our families or our friends. We may connect over Zoom or FaceTime, but we will not share a dinner, or a drink, or a hug. We will not physically be in the presence of our loved ones. And that realization is hitting many of us harder than anticipated, and it is impacting our children in ways we, as adults, may not fully comprehend. The hurt, sorrow, and loss that dulls the sparkle in my son’s eyes is – as his mommy – unbearable to witness, difficult to soothe, and even more challenging to explain. This is where the tears come in. So many, many tears. I feel like we have stripped our children of all their simple, innocent pleasures, and have replaced it with … what?
I know in our little family of three we have worked hard at finding joy in the simple things, but nine months later it is getting challenging. My son is bored of the family walks, indifferent of the family hikes, and tired of being at home. He misses his cousins, his Auntie, his Uncles, his grandparents, his friends; and he misses travelling, weekend outings, and playdates. He has, for his young age, done so well keeping so strong and so positive, but the cracks are showing. I am worried. How do I help him? How do you help yours? What can we, as parents, do?
We push ourselves, even harder than we already do, to find ways to keep smiling, keep cheerful, keep positive. We shove our own fears, worries, frustrations, and fatigue way down deep inside ourselves and find something – anything – child-friendly and fun to keep our little ones afloat. To keep them feeling safe, inspired, happy, and loved. And then, late at night, instead of sleep washing over us, all those pushed-down, pent-up feelings rush to the surface, keeping us awake as we lie in bed fighting for sleep, only to realize it will not come, or it comes in fits and bursts. Then we rise the next day, exhausted, spent, and weary, only to repeat or surpass our efforts of the day before. This is parenting in a pandemic. This is parenting with pandemic fatigue.
And so it is almost Christmas – only eight days away – and what have we done? We have decorated the house and put up our tree. We have hung stockings and Christmas lights, and mistletoe. We listen to Christmas music. We watch Christmas movies. We watch and listen to virtual story time with Santa Claus. We visit neighbourhoods with dazzling light displays and, as is tradition, we visit Kringlewood on Inglewood. We have kept our spirits high, even when we are feeling low, all in the hopes of having a gentle, loving, peaceful, and happy Christmas because our son needs it. We need it. And because, though the end of that tunnel is long and far away, there is still a tiny flicker of light.
That flicker, is hope.
A Tiny Flicker of Light. Published by Crystal Joy Hall