COLUMN: Kids with questions, cancelled vacations and adjusting to a new reality

A lot of changes to keep up with over the last two weeks with arrival of COVID-19

The world looked a lot different just a couple weeks ago.

My husband and I were in countdown mode for our second honeymoon. Bring on Costa Rica’s sandy beaches and carefree childless days in the sunshine.

As for the kids, our two girls were eager to perform the dance routines they’d rehearsed all year. Life was normal(ish). Our family calendar was packed with parties, playdates, trips to the dentist, etc.

While there was some murmuring about a virus ravaging a city in China, we were far enough away to be safe. Or so we thought.

Those were the good old days. *Sigh*

First came the memes (I shared a few myself), then came the “toilet-roll-aggedon,” followed by the most commonly used buzzword of 2020 — social distancing.

Way back then, we didn’t realize how much our routines were about to change — indefinitely.

Like some apocalyptic Hollywood movie, borders have been shut down, flights canceled, nuptials postponed, schools closed, lives put on hold, and dreams shattered.

Instead of toasting 15 years of marriage on a tropical beach, Jason and I are self-isolating in a cramped townhouse with two dogs, a gecko, a hamster, and two squirrelly kids.

The last pair can’t seem to comprehend why they shouldn’t put their fingers, remote control — or anything at all for that matter— in their mouths.

Hands are red and raw; little ones are wondering when they can see their friends again, and playgrounds are desolate.

My inbox keeps pinging with the announcement of another small business closing up shop.

Despite the lack of personal space and a dark cloud of uncertainty that looms overhead, we are the lucky ones. *Knock on wood*

Of all the changes, it was the school closure that hit our older daughter the hardest.

“Mom, it’s not fair!” said Molly, 10, after hearing Trudeau’s big announcement.

“I’m still learning long division and my song for choir. What about my friends and teachers – will I ever get to see them again?”

I generally pride myself on being able to come up with an answer on the spot, but lately I’ve been a loss for words.

This stuff wasn’t in What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

At first, playgrounds were deemed safe, so off we went to the local park for a picnic. I brought along our last bottle of hand sanitizer and warned them not to put their hands anywhere near their faces or to play with any of the kids there.

A group of children started to head our way, and it felt like a scene out of The Walking Dead.

“Come on, girls, let’s go. NOW!” I said, hastily packing up our half-eaten lunch.

I’d gone from being this carefree anti-helicopter parent to an anxiety-ridden militant Mommy Dearest in a matter of days.

We’re OK with our cancelled trip, but constantly worry about the kids.

Will they be OK? Will I actually have to teach long-division and fractions? God help them both.

The house was quiet for a good 45 minutes before I dared creep upstairs. I fully expected them to be immersed with some game on their pads, as per usual.

What I saw brought tears to my eyes – happy ones.

“Do you like it?” asked Zoe, 8, who was clipping scraps of paper and gluing them to a poster board.

They were making a collage of inspirational quotes.

Both were smiling dimple-to-dimple as the sunshine spilled onto the carpet, illuminating positive messages like, “It’s all going to be okay” and “Why be anyone else when you can just be yourself!”

Guess they’re not as traumatized as I thought.

In a matter of seconds, this Valley mom went from feeling powerless to proud.

Everything can change in an instant, even from bad to good.

In the meantime, parents, we’re all in this together — from a safe social distance.

Kristyl Clark is the founder of the award-winning family blog ValleyMom.ca. Follow her on Facebook @ValleyMom.ca and Instagram at @ValleyMom.ca

ColumnCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Residents showcased as ‘companion’ sculpture unveiled

Amica White Rock welcomes bronze guardian, celebrates resident talent

Homemade explosives detonated in South Surrey

Police asking public for help identifying those responsible

Surrey students paint mural, paying homage to First Nations, at SkyTrain station

Artwork to showcase ‘positivity and racial inclusivity in the city’

White Rock highrise on hold after workers exhibit ‘severe’ overexposure symptoms

WorkSafeBC issued stop-work order at 1588 Johnston Rd. site on July 24

More than 50,000 checks: Surrey COVID-19 compliance, enforcement team’s role has ‘evolved’

Joint bylaw, RCMP team created to help with coronavirus education, support

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Wings and Wheels set for weekend lift-off in Abbotsford

Fundraiser to raise money for Crystal Gala Foundation and the fight against breast cancer

Undercover video shows alleged animal abuse at Fraser Valley egg farm

One employee wearing logo of Chilliwack chicken-catching company already facing abuse charges

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

Most Read