We could have never expected a pandemic to upend our world. It is like something out of a movie plot. As parents, it has caught us all totally off guard, and uncovered some of our deepest fears for the safety of our families. The unknown is at the core of most of our anxiety, whether we realize it or not. It’s not only school choices, health concerns, and work issues, it is all of life. It feels really big, doesn’t it? Yet, the current circumstances have only exposed what has always been true, we are not in control. Therein lies the problem.
Up until this season, we thought we knew what was happening in our lives. We knew the path and the best choices for our families and our kids to help them stay on it. The way seemed clear cut and well defined. Now, everything feels up in the air, and that makes us uncomfortable and a bit crazy. We aren’t sure what information to trust about the virus, or anything else for that matter. It seems, even the experts disagree on the best course of action. Honestly, the truth is that they don’t really know, and they are making their best guesses based on what information they do have…which is changing hourly.
It is all just too new. Too different from anything we have ever faced before. Like 9-11, it requires a shift of thinking to I-can’t-grasp-the-new-changes-in-the-world-and-what-they-mean-to-my-family kind of thoughts. Remember when you heard the news? No one had used planes as bombs before. It was a foreign and horrifying idea. Scary. Are we being invaded? Do I pick my kids up from school? Should I keep them home? We didn’t know what to do and the new normal was an extraneous concept. Security lines at airports? What do you mean I can’t walk my loved ones to the gate? All so strange and unsettling.
Now, here we are again. A different foe, a different way, but same gut reaction. Grasping for information. Reading it all. Trying to make the best choices in the midst of the unknown future. Trying to both protect and not overreact. It is not easy, this place we find ourselves. The good news is, we have been here before. We have faced indefinite unsure outcomes throughout our lives and we have survived.
Before we birthed children, we wondered how bad it would hurt, if we could do it. We were afraid, but we did it anyway. When we made a big move, we wondered if we would miss our old lives, if we would adjust. We were scared, but we did it anyway. We wondered if marriage would be hard, but it didn’t stop us from saying ‘I do’. We were curious if the new career was a good choice, but we stepped into it.
Parents, we have been courageous in the face of the unknown for a long time. We have learned to weigh the risks, we know how to look at the possibilities. We did it then, even when the outcome was out of our control and we will do it now. On the other side of these times, we will have learned we are ultimately not in control of the circumstances around us. But we will also know that we can be brave and press on anyway. In these times we must lean on each other, not rip each other up. Our kids are depending on us to lead them through the unknown and we will do it, together.