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Don't Try to Fix It, Mom

2020 was rough and 2021 delivered a rousing encore. We hear words like covid fatigue, pandemic burnout, the Great Resignation of 2021, and reduced capacity. Suicide rates are climbing. Did you get your vaccine? Have you been boosted? Delta, Omicron, OMG!

The world in which we find ourselves is stressful! This era will be written about in history books and will mark the beginning of the mass roll-out of distance learning, working remotely, tele-health, and mass distribution of PPE, an acronym that many people weren’t knowledgeable of before the crisis.

It is easy, and sometimes tempting, to sit and bemoan all of the crummy things that have come along in the last year or two. I was doing just that one day early last week, feeling low and sorry for myself. I snapped at one of the girls. I felt too tired to do anything and too restless to do nothing. I allowed myself the day to sulk, and the next day was markedly improved. However, the next day for our little one, was rough.

She did not want to get out of bed. She did not want to get dressed. She did not want to go to school. She complained throughout carpool. She complained when I picked her up seven hours later. She bickered with her sister and refused her afternoon snack. She went up to her room for some alone time - very unlike her.

After a while, I went up to check on our youngest and found her sobbing in her bed. I laid down next to her, arm around her little body, and asked her what she was thinking.

“Everything!” she wailed. “Everybody who died last year! My teacher quit and I’ll never see him again! I don’t have any friends! I hate going to school! I don’t like when you wake me up in the morning, it's too early!” She went on and on with her list. Some things were big - the multiple deaths in our family. Some things were small - saying she doesn’t have friends when I know that she does. But, the mind can feel like a whirlwind of bad when we are overwhelmed.

As I attempted to soothe her, she finally said, “Mom, can I please just complain without you trying to fix it?”

Wow. She totally called me out!

She was expressing exactly what I’d felt just the day before. I was not ok, and that was ok. Now she was not ok, and she needed that to be ok, too.

“It’ll be hard, but I can surely try,” I told her. We laid together and she cried out all of her tears. Just like me, the next day, she felt much better.

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