If there was ever a time that we needed a parenting manual, 2020 would be the year. I mean – throw out all of the past advice about limiting screen time. We are in survival mode, people! If my daughter wants to binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, and my son is playing more hours of Minecraft than I typically allow that’s fine with me. It keeps them indoors, right?
I’m fortunate that my kids are teenagers – one in high school and one in college. They know how to make their own breakfast and keep themselves occupied. Homeschooling was us saying – “Did you turn in that English essay?”
My husband wanted me to wake up Jenna for her statistics class because the professor sadistically changed it from a 7 pm to an 8 am time slot. Because she is not a morning person, I woke her up for the first few days, but then I left her on her own. I got tired of her yelling at me.
I also remembered that she is in college and knows when to get up for class. I was much happier being her personal barista instead.
For eight glorious weeks, we were together 24/7. We enjoyed sit-down family dinners. We cleaned out multiple closets. We met new neighbors and reconnected with old friends. We had a Passover seder and a virtual family reunion over Zoom. We spent quality time doing jigsaw puzzles and playing the not-so-wholesome Cards Against Humanity. We grew stronger as a family.
And now, four months into this pandemic and things are starting to open up even though COVID-19 cases have not subsided. The kids are restless and want to see their friends. I can’t blame them. I mean – we are cool parents and fun to hang out with, but even they have had enough of us. Andrew is craving his freedom in the form of a new driver’s license burning a hole in his pocket. Jenna is babysitting and Door Dashing. Luckily, they both have a close-knit group of people they always hang out with – outside and hopefully at a reasonable distance.
Deep down inside, I just want to keep them locked up in my bubble. But, I’m letting go of the reins which can be so hard. My first decision was to let Jenna go down the shore. But before she left, I made sure she was fully equipped with hand sanitizer, a face mask and my newly-minted, real-world pandemic safety review. (And yes, there was a quiz at the end.)
They are 19 and 16 years old. They watch the news. They know what is going on in the world. I’ve raised them to be responsible young adults.
What else can I do? He gave up his water polo season. She came home from spring break and never went back to campus. They have been through a lot. All I can do now is say a little prayer about their health and safety – and do a temperature check before they walk back into the house.