Sometimes, you don’t realize how much you value something until it’s gone.
We are blessed that our house sits on a corner lot and is also on a cul-de-sac. We have a huge front yard and a long driveway: the perfect combination for kids to safely play. About six months ago, I invited a couple of friends over for our kids to have a play date, and the rest is history. Our little mom tribe has expanded to six moms, and we have kids ranging in age from 6 weeks to 7 years old. We get together about 2-3 times a week. The younger kids play with sidewalk chalk, ride their little trikes in the driveway, or play keep-away in the yard. The older kids set up hockey nets in the cul-de-sac and ride their bikes around the circle. The moms set up our lawn chairs at the end of the driveway and alternate between catching up with each other and chasing our babies around.
Our Mom Tribe is filled with amazing women. We all are so supportive of each other, non-judgmental, and we just jump up and help with all the kids, somehow being able to sense when one mom needs more of a break. Now, they’re more than play dates. They’re a gathering of friends who have become family. They are my therapy. They are my ability to reconnect with other women who are in the same stage of life as me. They are an opportunity for my babies to play with their friends while they learn and grow with them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously brought our time together to a temporary halt. It’s been three weeks since our Mom Tribe has gotten together, and I feel it. My kids feel it. They are only 2 ½ and 1 ½, so they are too young to fully grasp why they can’t play with their friends, but old enough to know and feel their absence. Every afternoon since we’ve started socially-distancing, we’ve played outside in the driveway. Every day, I see the look of excitement on their faces and the glimmer of hope in their eyes as they see me start to pull out the toys we usually share with their friends. As they look around happily and list their friends by name, waiting for them to come over, my heart breaks. I know that once again, I’ll have to tell them their friends can’t come over to play. I’ll have to watch that excitement fade as disappointment becomes etched on their sweet, little faces.
I miss my friends, too. We’ve stayed in touch through text messages and waves from our cars as we drive by to just get some safe time outside of the house, but it’s not enough. I know the social distancing is a necessary evil, but it hurts my heart. I miss the face-to-face interaction with my fellow mamas. And I don’t just miss them. I miss their babies too. I miss hugging their little ones and watching them grow with my kids. I miss the sound of kids playing in my yard.
Every day, I say a prayer that we as a world are healed from COVID-19 while my family continues to practice social distancing. Every day, I try to find new ways to keep my children’s spirits up while they can’t see their friends. I know one (hopefully soon) day, our lives will slowly return to normal, and when they do, I can’t wait to hear the sound of my kids and their friends laughing and playing together.