Our Children Have Missed a Lot This Year, But Look at What They’ve Gained

This year has been one none of us wants to repeat. The national fires and the global pandemic, the face masks and the fear, the financial struggle, and the mental loneliness, it’s been a strain on everyone.

Frontline workers, teachers, parents, children. 

Most children have never been through something like this – to have their ‘normal’ shift so dramatically. My children certainly haven’t. But they have handled it with resilience, acceptance, and strength, even when faced with disappointment and fear. Their ability to handle all that 2020 has thrown their way has absolutely blown me away. 

This is something I haven’t had a chance to say to them yet, mostly because I can never find the right words and because my kids get bored when I get sentimental.

But I can write it down. And I can hope that one day, all three of my children will take the time to read it. 

To my children, I’m so sorry you’ve missed out

2020 has taken a lot away from you. Sports days and school camps. Soccer tournaments and sleepovers. Parties and parades. Birthday celebrations. Family outings. Interstate holidays. Seeing your grandparents in real life, not just on a screen. 

Every week you’ve been met with disappointment that something is cancelled or changed or postponed to another day that has yet to come. Another week without playdates. Another month without seeing extended family. Another term of online learning. Another season of uncertainty. 

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen your little faces drop as I say, “Sorry guys, that’s been cancelled for this year.” “Sorry hun, but we can’t do that anymore,” “Sorry sweetie, but that will have to wait until next year.”

“I know you’re missing it, but we just have to wait a little bit longer.”

“Be patient.”
“Be grateful we have our health.” 
“Be positive that this will all be over soon.”

These mantras repeated over and over and over. Have they lost all meaning to you? Are you numb to it now? The same way you don’t even flinch at the sight of a facemask anymore. Or question words like social distancing, lockdown, pandemic, restrictions. Are these words now just part of your everyday vocabulary?

Have you accepted this is now our normal? Have you come to expect cancellation, disappointment and fear? 

mum centralTo my children, please, don’t give up hope.

This will get better. You deserve so much better than 2020 – you deserve friends and school sports, dance concerts and birthday parties, proper schooling (not just me attempting to home school and failing miserably).

You deserve to not be met with disappointment and cancellations. And it breaks my heart that this is what you’re dealing with. 

Yes, my children, you’ve missed out on a lot this year. But look at what we’ve gained. 

Time spent together. Inside our little home which is now freshly painted and decorated with pretty homewares and plants, because online shopping isn’t cancelled.

We’ve discovered the joy of family walks, of making treasure hunts, of playing hide and seek in the house, of transforming the living room into our very own The Floor Is Lava set.

We’ve discovered how hard it is to work from home AND learn from home and we’ve all spent a fair share of time crying in our bedrooms trying to make it work. 

I’ve taught you how to play poker, how to cook a week’s worth of dinners, how to properly set the table and how to cure boredom with a bucket load of water balloons and a trampoline. 

You’ve taught me how to build a portal in Minecraft, how fun it can be to rollerblade in the house, and how it’s perfectly okay to let dirty dishes lie and spent the afternoon binge-watching Pitch Perfect movies. 

I’ve learned how funny, talented, kind, strong-willed, and bright all three of you are. How you’re turning into beautiful little humans right before my eyes. You, my eldest, have grown from a child to a tween and you, my youngest, from a baby to a toddler within our four walls.

Most importantly, I’ve learned how to be present, how to slow down, how to be a better mum to all three of you. 

Through it all, I’ve learned so much. But so have you. 

Life lessons I couldn’t teach you myself – things it normally takes people years and years to understand. Like how to be adaptable, to be flexible, to be patient, to be grateful. 

How to handle disappointment, shrug it off and find the positives in even the shittiest situations.

To my children, you’ve shown me just how strong and brave and resilient you really are.

I’m so sorry it took a pandemic for me to truly see it. But I see it now. I see you now. And I couldn’t be prouder of how you’ve handled it all. 

Love, Mum. 

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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