So, I fell down the stairs the other day.
To my horror, I was also holding my three year old, and try as I might in the slow motion/ fast forward twilight zone of such accidents, I was unable to shield his head from hitting the edge of the stair. In a second’s time we both lay stunned – he in my arms, clinging to my body, and me desperately searching his for injuries. When I breathed again, I discovered only a bruise on his forehead. He looked at me, blinked, and took another bite of his cracker. At least he saved the cracker.
I let him run off, and sat there. My ten year old daughter stopped to ask if I was ok, and quickly decided she was in over her head. Exit stage right. The left side of my body was screaming, and for the first time since the pandemic hit our country, I allowed myself to cry. It was an ugly-cry. I could feel the adrenaline kicking in. The numbness would soon take over and I would do what the adrenaline was designed to help me do: I would pick myself up, wipe my face on my sleeve, and keep going about my day. And so I did.
I didn’t get philosophical about my flight down the stairs until about 16 hours after the incident when my adrenaline began to wear off. Since then I’ve been assessing my bruises, sore muscles, and aching joints, as they manifest. I will likely be reaping the ramifications of my socks-on-wood-stairs mistake for quite some time, just as we as a country – we as the world – will reap the ramifications of COVID-19 for a very. long. time. As we free fall the flight of stairs that was March turned to April and is sure to be May, we know there will be pain. For many of us the pain has already come. And we will sit in our socially distant spaces and cry (as we should).
We cannot fully shield our children from the fallout of this time in history; but we can fall with them, holding them as tightly as we can. We can assess the bruises of friendships missed, of routines gone, of mommy being always stressed out. We can ask if they are ok, but more than likely they won’t have the words to tell us. They will be happy that their cracker is saved, and will wriggle out of our arms to go play. Children are resilient. And so are we.
We will get to a new normal soon. A Normal where a small Treasure saved makes everything better, a normal where the bruises of the past don’t hurt as much as they used to, a normal where we never shake hands with anyone ever again; for we are a resilient species, with resilient children and indestructible crackers.