Tonight my school district sent an email outlining the dates kids will return back to school. I read the email, finished the dishes, wiped the kitchen counters, and walked in to check on my sleeping kids.
I gave them each a little squeeze and a gentle kiss on the cheek and it made me realize something.
I haven’t done this in MONTHS.
I can’t remember the last time I checked on my sleeping kids at night.
I walk past their room, sure.
But, I don’t check on them religiously. Not anymore.
Instead, I now put them to bed and PRAY to the gods of sleep, peace and silence that they might fall asleep after a long day before they realize I didn’t come back to read the book I PROMISED I would.
I checked out before they even brushed their teeth. I used to go in every single night to make sure they got some extra love from me after a long day.
After ANY and ALL of the days.
But I don’t go and cuddle their little sweaty, peaceful slumbering bodies. Not anymore. I don’t feel the desperate need to ever-so-gently cover them with the tiniest kisses on every one of their exposed cheeks, hands, lips or shoulders.
I don’t “mom” the same. Not anymore.
After reading tonight’s news, I felt an instant, and very sudden surge of relief. It was as if I had spent too much time underwater and I was frantically swimming to reach the surface, ready to vehemently gulp in every bit of air I can to fill my deflated, dying lungs.
It made me realize I’ve been so badly suffocating in the every day tasks that have taken over every minute of my life since Spring that I have become a different person. A different parent.
I kept thinking all of this time we’ve been stuck spending together over this year has made my kids crazy chaotic, unmanageable and irritable.
But, they’ve been getting a totally different mom.
Of COURSE they are going to act differently. Who the hell is this woman they thought they knew and loved? Where’s the compassionate, patient and unconditionally loving mom they once had?
She’s anxious and frustrated and it seems she’s ALWAYS yelling about something.
She’s not the same.
No one is the same.
During this pandemic I not only lost my financial security, my freedom to go where I please, my financial security, time with family and friends, and my kids school days… but I lost mySELF.
I was no longer a mom, a writer, a person with goals and plans. I was an unsure, anxious mess with no creativity, direction, security, structure… I was feeling utterly hopeless.
Tonight I was given a dim light at the end of this very long tunnel and it seemed to bring back a little of the person I once was.
I just hope that I can find the whole of her again. Someday really soon.