If you are going to tell yourself anything during this time of COVID-19 and quarantines, tell yourself, “We will get through this.” Then, tell your family, and your friends. Let yourself hear it, feel it, and believe it.
My husband and I planned a vacation to the US in mid-January for ourselves and three children. It had been almost 18 months since our last visit stateside to visit our home country, and we were looking forward to spending time with family and friends. When we touched down at Lambert Airport, the coronavirus was not the hot news story on every station.
However, a couple weeks into our vacation, our return flight was abruptly cancelled. Then, we ended up extending again until mid-March. By the time we flew back to Hong Kong, the virus was racing across the globe.
While our family spent an unplanned extended time stateside looking for a new normal we hadn’t anticipated, we were incredibly touched by the number of people who reached out to help us. Many gave us gift cards, invited us over to dinner, and even let us borrow an extra car. Without us asking, people seemed to want to help. Their kindness left us with resolve; we will get through this.
Upon returning from our stateside trip, our family was placed in a required two-week quarantine. Things are looking up here in our town. Businesses are opening back up and people are cautiously leaving their home. Schools still have not opened. However, local friends have helped us get groceries, asked us if there is anything we need, and sent numerous messages. To put it simply, we have been touched by how kind people have been to us during this strange time. My family and I recently completed our quarantine and we’re so thankful for the chance to get outside, go for walks, and ride bikes.
It’s humbling to be on the receiving end of such kindness, regardless of where you are. Yet, these small acts of love are enough to push us forward during these difficult days. Looking back, I probably won’t remember many of the challenges surrounding this period, despite how glaring it is today, but I will remember the smiles, kind words, and acts of service friends, and even strangers, showed us.
During the difficult days, it is easy to give in to despair and frustration. When your kids ask you for the millionth time if they can have a snack or whine that they’re bored, I understand the urge to want to pull your hair out. However, maybe in those moments, we can practice extending the same kindness to our children. They’re also wandering in new territory, and the days look much different for them, too. Instead of giving into anger, remind them that you love them and will care for them. Put aside your own to-do list and play with them. Build a fort. Read a book. Give them extra hugs and snuggles. If you lose your cool, don’t beat yourself up. It’s an opportunity to teach your kids that it’s okay to say, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Will you forgive me? These are lessons our children should be taught, and now, in our homes, is the time to do it. We’ve been given a gift of time we will never have again. Let’s equip our children with these tools, and provide them with hope and security when things are askew.
When we finally returned home after days of travel, my kids and I discovered a balcony full of dead plants. After two months stateside, our tiny garden was a mess. However, in the midst of the decay, a bright spot stuck out to us. A tiny, yellow plant my son picked out at a local nursery had survived, despite the fact that no one had cared for it for weeks. So, in the coming days, we will water, nurture, and show it some care.
Because to us, it represents more than just a flower – like the kindness extended to us during this period, it’s a pocket of hope in the chaos.
Sarah is a St. Louis native. She is married to Adam, and they
currently live in East Asia. Sarah is a stay-at-home mom to three children four and under – Caleb (5), Elijah (almost 4), and Rebekah (2). When she’s not building with train tracks or fishing things out of the toilet, she enjoys writing, reading, and spending as much time as possible outdoors. When she gets a craving for gooey butter cake and toasted ravioli, the 24+ hour trek to St. Louis requires planes, trains, automobiles…and lots of prayer.