“You did a great job at the post office, Aaron” I told my 6 year old boy. He was sitting in his carseat, with his mask still on. I was driving toward the optometrist’s office.
“You can take the mask off now sweetie” I said. He’s so good about keeping his mask on that he even forgets to take it off in the van.
“I’m hungry” he says.
“I know, we’ll get you food after your eye doctor appointment.”
Once I park the van, I realize I had miscalculated the time needed for my errands. We had arrived early. Too early to just sit in the van.
I looked in my mirror at Aaron’s face. “I don’t want to go to the eye doctor.” He said. “They’re going to do eye drops.”
“I know, Aaron, but how about we go see something fun?”
Near the eye doctor there happens to be a walking trail. “Let’s go for a walk!”
I could tell he didn’t really want to. He even said “I wish we could go home.”
But he took my hand and we walked to the trail. It was a beautiful October day. As we walked down the trail, I looked at him walking in front of me.
He looked so big to me. His once fair blonde hair looked so dark. I took my phone out of my pocket and snapped a picture.
The rest of our day went fine. He had his eye appointment, and his prescription had improved so he’ll need new glasses. Yes, he did get eye drops, which he didn’t like. But he didn’t cry, and did a great job answering the doctor’s questions.
He requested pizza for dinner, (and ice cream). I gladly got him both, to reward him for being a big helper for me that day.
Later that night, I looked at the picture I had taken.
It looked like a lone boy headed down an empty road. And I thought about how much Aaron had grown this year.
We’ve all grown. But our children have really had to adapt, and I think they adapted so well we almost take it for granted.
Look at Aaron for example. As we walked down the trail, he spotted a person coming up behind us in the distance. He immediately asked for help to put his mask on. It’s habit now.
I try to put myself in his shoes.
How would I feel if I had gone to school one Friday, hugged my friends goodbye, and was told on Monday that I wouldn’t see my friends anymore? I wouldn’t be able to see my teacher anymore either. Now school is done over a screen. Aaron always told me his favorite part of school was eating lunch with his friends. He won’t get to do that for a long time now.
Imagine being six, and you’re told that you’re not allowed to see or hug your grandparents and aunts and uncles for who knows how long.
My kids haven’t gone to a playground in 7 months. They haven’t played in a yard with any other kids besides their own siblings for 7 long months.
I think we need to give our kids so much credit for what they’ve had to go through during this pandemic. We forget sometimes, because kids are so adaptable. There’s a lot they don’t want to do, but they just do it anyway. Don’t forget do little surprises for them sometimes, little treats.
Our kids might feel they are walking down a long lonely road. Let’s make sure we are always right behind them. Let’s even walk next to them, and ahead sometimes. Let them know you’re there.