This Crazy New Normal
Conversations with a 3-year-old and this crazy new normal
This morning my husband got ready to go to a meeting. When he walked through, this was the conversation between him and our 3-year-old son…
James: Hey, Daddy!
Shaun: Hey, My Baby!
James: You going to a meeting?
James: But you going to be quick?
Shaun: I hope so!
James: Okay. But don’t forget your mask…
James: Wear it so you don’t get sick.
Shaun: I will, My Baby!
This Crazy New Normal
He is three. Not even six weeks ago there were no Corona cases in our country. We could walk, hug, shop, dine out and see people. There were no masks. Fast forward to today, all the aforementioned things are now our very simple dreams, and there are masks. LOTS OF MASKS.
This Crazy New Normal has become my 3-year-old son’s New Normal. No questions asked.
It got me thinking back to the start, those six weeks ago. Suddenly, quite literally overnight, our lives changed. Things we did on a daily basis- walks, trips to the shops, visits to the slides, restaurant treats and family and friends were no longer an option. All for good reason, and all for a good cause. But how do you explain this to a 3-year-old? How do you tell a child that everything they did today, they can’t do tomorrow… or the next day… or the next day.
It was a HUGE WORRY.
I worried about how he and his younger brother would react when they asked if we could go for a walk, and the answer was no. We anticipated this being the catalyst for a lot of ‘why’ questions too. And I know it seems like such a small concern, and maybe not even a concern at all, given the magnitude of the situation- but this was our situation and our reality. So, how do you tell a child that everything they did today, they can’t do tomorrow? The answer was so simple, you just tell them. Because, thankfully, kids of this age believe what they hear. They come without prejudice, scepticism and they just overflow with faith and wonder.
So, the time came…
James: Mama, please can we go for a walk?
Me: Sorry, My Baby, but we can’t.
Me: There are a lot of sick people at the moment, and God wants us to try stay inside and at home so that we don’t get sick too.
Accepting and adapting to this Corona bubble
That evening the news was on, and there were a lot of visuals of people wearing masks and gloves. James observed this: “They wearing masks and gloves so they don’t get sick?” From that day on, he asked a few times if the people were better and if we could go outside now; he learnt very quickly that his question kept getting the same response and since then, he has not asked.
How was he able to accept this, and so easily? How has he managed to adapt so easily? Again, the answer is simple. He decided to. He was told that he couldn’t; he accepted he couldn’t; and in his limited, 3-year-old capacity, he adapted knowing that the answer wasn’t going to change anytime soon.
We all have had to adapt.
Now this doesn’t mean that the process has been easy. There are days he has frustration- frustration he didn’t have before. There are days he acts out in ways that he wouldn’t normally. But that doesn’t change the situation and that doesn’t change his bottom line: acceptance and adaptation. The process is difficult; the process is a journey- one in which we will move one step forward and three steps back. But the decision is easy. It is a simple yes or no question. Do you accept your current situation? Are you going to adapt to it?
This is, of course, because we cannot control the current situation and this new world we have been catapulted into. In any normal situation, if you are unhappy with a situation- sometimes accepting the situation would be the wrong thing to do. But that’s when change is in your power and control. The only thing we have power and control over right now is our mind, thoughts and emotions. These powerful tools need to be used so that we can all get through this roller-coaster of uncertainty and fear with acceptance and adaptability.
The world through a child’s eyes
After reflecting on this, I thought, “Gosh, I wish I could see the world through a child’s eyes.” Their vision is so clear, so full of hope, so full of MAGIC. It must feel so FREE- free of worries, free of stress. And then I realized, I can. If a 3-year-old can make a decision and stick to it so adamantly (and we all know they can!!!), then why can’t I?
If we all tried to see the world through the eyes of a child, we would see everything as new, as an adventure. We would be on a constant endeavour to learn and experience new things. We would see everyone and everything as a friend. We would see ourselves as the superheroes we are. We would imagine the impossible and believe with all our might that we can achieve it. We would simply be who we are and not question it. We would not care what others think. Gosh- sounds like a fairytale!
The process won’t be easy, but the decision is. Each day I will CHOOSE to see the world through the eyes of a child. I will discover the beauty. I will see the magic. I will feel free. I cannot always control the situation, but I can control how I feel about this crazy new normal.