Updated: Jan 4, 2021
"Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefulness, and gratefulness is a measure of our aliveness."
― Brother David Steindl-Rast
Yes, you read it right. Last week my three kids were diagnosed with Covid-19—everyone's worst fear this year. Quarantine ends on the 27th; I am in the garage suite, and the three kids are in the main house. We, like so many, will be having a very different holiday.
Over the past week, I have experienced an array of emotions.
Shame topped the charts. The voices in my head are loud. "Oh no, we are that family"; "I am a lousy mother - I did not protect my kids"; "People will think we were reckless," etc. etc. I received a text yesterday from someone outside of my inner circle who had "heard about us." The shame was visceral.
Then there is the fear. That one or more would end up in the hospital, and I would not be there to help them. The constant barrage of negative news we receive is overwhelming. Having had friends share their hospital experiences as patients and health care workers brought a dread like no other.
And the feeling of loss. Christmas has come to a grinding halt. The tree is half decorated; there is a pile of unwrapped amazon gifts in the living room; there will be no turkey, and we are isolated from each other. Our attachment to traditions has been challenged, exasperating the already sense of loss this year has brought and, admittedly, I have had a few moments of self-pity.
Throughout the past few months, I asserted that COVID-19 is a gift. It has revealed so much about our world. How we care for our elders, how afraid of death we are, how attached we are to material goods and ideological thinking, and how utterly important connection is.
As our quarantine comes to a very, very slow close, things have shifted. I am now (slowly) seeing this as a gift, an opportunity. I am grateful as the kid's symptoms have been mild, more like the common cold. And although I was fully exposed, I did not get it (tested negative twice). They have been locked down together for over 11 days and have fully turned toward each other. Playing, singing, dancing, talking, all while being continually fed by their over-anxious mother.
This is likely the last time in a long time the three will be together in this way. Sebastien and Dominic are on the edge of taking flight and will soon leave the nest, giving Naomi the experience of being an only child. They have eloquently accepted this predicament, and the gift has been a profound, connecting experience. How they have risen in this brings tears to my eyes. The bonding and closeness I have witnessed trumps any amazon gift I could receive.
Joseph Campbell says that "If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path." Their life experiences include, but are not limited to, a cleft palate, multiple moves, anaphylactic shock, divorce, the death of thei,r step-father , loss of of grad 2020, and now contracting COVID 19. Resilence is an integral part of their character, and these events are just steps along their path.
I am looking forward to 2021. Change is afoot, optimism is in the air as vaccinations arrive, and hugs are imminent! Farwell 2020, and hello and a big welcome to 2021 and the next steps along all of our paths.
May you all be safe, be happy, be healthy and live with ease.