There’s always hope.

I find that I reacted to this pandemic by doing and distracting. 

The doing was the preparing for social distancing, the cleaning of the house, the moving my body, the getting us outside for walks…these were all helpful…but maybe overdone. 

The distracting involved the overconsumption of news and social media trying to predict the future, researching and understanding what was going on, and looking to see how others were handling it. 

Finally, I woke up, and realized, “I’ve got to get present.”

That window was when my anxiety jumped to center stage! It demanded the spotlight after being freshly and continuously fueled by all that media I had been consuming regularly without taking the time to process and touch base with my own thoughts and feelings.

So when I finally decided I was going to bed early, (enough of the doing and distracting!) that’s when my thinking went on overdrive and my body began to shake for the fear. The night was full of worrisome thoughts, so I got up early in the morning so I could cry unseen by my daughter. For a couple of days, it seemed a panic attack would bring me to my knees at any moment. 

But like any mother whose child needs her so completely in any crisis, I just kept moving forward and holding it together. I kept up the positive self talk. I lessened my media consumption and then lessened it again. I kept doing art. I kept going outside with my daughter. 

Most importantly, I kept taking the time to notice the beauty all around me: honey bees in the chickweed, the seeds we planted last fall blooming in colorful pops in the garden, our first iris blooms of the season, my daughter’s joy in going for a bike ride, the way my knitting needles clicked in rhythm, my husband always nearby, time for games every day, the way the yellow paint brightened the whole page, the hawk’s cry as it flew just over our heads, the new family of woodpeckers living in a nearby tree, the way I can tune into my body in a yoga flow and tune out the rest for just a few moments. 

It was these little moments of noticing that allowed me to stay present and continue to mother my daughter and myself, because she was looking to me.

And so, each day, it’s the little things of wonder and beauty and love that keep my hope alive and help me fight the weight of what is going on in the world.

It’s every deep breath and every smile from my daughter that lifts me up and gives me the strength to show her how to stay present and keep moving forward.

Amberly Barry McGee is a homeschool mom, a part-time Waldorf teacher, and a health and fitness coach. Her dream is to write and illustrate children’s books. She resides in the Deep South with her husband, daughter, dog, and 4 cats. She is a member of The Wake Up & Thrive Network.

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