My daughter, who is a senior in high school, came home from her second job, plopped all her bags from the long day on the table, and said, “Mom, Jenny doesn’t feel good. I hope she doesn’t have COVID!”
She grabbed the thermometer she keeps on the kitchen counter for easy accessibility and glided it across her forehead. This daily habit was developed out of her growing respect for this horrible virus and her maturing responsibility in tracking her health, especially since she works with kids and customers daily. The thermometer beeps and she gives it a glance, then places it back in its spot for the next check tomorrow.
While I can’t remember when she started her daily temperature checks in the blur of all of these months gone by, I am so proud of her choice to be proactive and responsible since she is out in public working and serving people every day.
This routine has just become part of her routine, along with hand-washing her masks every night, and keeping her stash of antibacterial wipes in the car to use before and after she goes anywhere. These tasks are as natural as kicking her shoes off by the door when she comes home every day. They were once so new and unusual, but they have since grown to be typical, common, ordinary habits that have been added to her daily life.
“I’m good- no temp and I feel okay. But I worry about Jenny and what if I get it?”
“Well, you always wear your mask and wash your hands, and keep your distance, right?”
“Oh yeah, for sure. I always do, mom.”
“Then you’re doing all you can and that’s all you can do, sweetie. I sure hope she’s okay though.”
Jenny is one of many friends my daughter has developed a close relationship with while serving in our city’s low-income communities through our Church’s local missions ministry during these last months.
They carve out time in their busy schedules to meet at one of the many fun coffee shops around our city, sitting outside with safe social distancing while loving both the coffee and conversation. This has become my daughter’s favorite thing to do with her friends. Her choices have been limited to what she actually can do since all social activities and group gatherings are restricted and big events are canceled. Being the extrovert that she is, she figured out a way to still see her close friends and spend quality time with them while enjoying their favorite beverage too.
But as the seasons change and the weather gets too cold to spend time outside with her friends, I’m not sure what my daughter will do, but I do know she will manage somehow, because, through all these months of living in a pandemic, she’s learned how to be resilient.
She has faced many difficult decisions and accepted ongoing limitations and cancellations while trying to navigate each area of her life the best she can. And she’s done a remarkable job being creative and resourceful, with what little she’s been given during what should be one of the best years of her life. She’s somehow found a way to fill her life with many good things.
This pandemic has been so hard on all our kids, but they are more resilient than we give them credit for because they have learned how to adjust to all the changes they’ve been forced to face. Through these months, it’s surely been upsetting and frustrating, discouraging and sometimes defeating for our kids, but I’ve watched both my teens pull it together time and time again, and pick up the pieces of what’s left in their lives and make the most of it all.
Back in August, I mourned all the high school experiences my freshman and senior were going to miss and worried about their ability to manage all the new ways of doing school and well, doing life. It’s been a difficult adjustment, a challenging season for them both, of course. But it’s also given my kids so many opportunities to practice problem-solving skills and strengthen their resilience, two things they will surely need as adults. And for that, I’m grateful and proud and confident my kids, our kids, are going to be just fine, and honestly, they might be better than fine.
They’ve found their own creative ways of meeting their needs and persevering through all the obstacles on this tough terrain they have learned to journey through and although it’s not what we wanted for our kids, their experience will surely prepare them with the important life skills and lessons learned for the many new and hard winding roads they will travel ahead.
We just need to keep cheering them on when they make wise decisions, encourage them when they are accepting new limitations, and keep telling them how proud we are of their ability to overcome so many hard things that have been thrown into their lives.
Although we all wish this Pandemic never happened, although we have all endured agonizing hardships during these traumatic times, I’ve grown to realize that what will come from this, is a generation of kids who are strong, resourceful, resilient, courageous, and wise, for they have learned that in facing adversity, they can adjust to their circumstances and find new ways to make the best of their lives.
This is a contributed post by Christine Carter. She writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World”. Both sold on Amazon.