Paying it Forward in a Pandemic

We are over a month into staying at home, and every week has been a little different. The first couple of weeks were like a novelty as I erased events off of our family calendar and adapted other activities to virtual versions. We had family dinner on the patio, caught up on Netflix, went for walks every day, played board games, and went fishing. Zoom meetings popped up all over, we adapted to Distance Learning, and we developed a new routine.

As we got into weeks 3 and 4, it became more challenging for me as a mom as I realized this was going to last longer than we originally thought. I tried to be more creative in our new family structure. What I also noticed during this time as other families were also adapting, is that people all around us were starting to pay it forward in the midst of COVID-19.

Almost every day, I noticed large and small acts of kindness from friends, family, and people I didn’t even know. One friend mailed us sunflower seeds for our garden, one friend dropped off a puzzle as part of a puzzle exchange, friends had a surprise drive-by parade for our son’s birthday, friends sang Happy Birthday to multiple children on Zoom, people sent encouraging text messages and cards, museums, libraries, and zoos are offering virtual tours or free on-line resources. Both then and now, friends and moms are checking on each other weekly to see how everyone was really doing. Every morning I wake up and it hits me that COVID-19 is still here, but every day I also see countless acts of kindness to support and encourage others.

People all around us are in some form of darkness or loss in this bizarre, temporary reality. And while we are all “in the same boat” our places in the boat can change drastically during these weeks. Some of us are inconvenienced, overwhelmed, and juggling more than we ever have before. Some of us are worried about family members who are sick or concerned about family members who are working in the medical field with patients. Some of us are parents whose children are missing major milestones and experiences. This is a huge range of loss, but it is all under the umbrella of grief. One of the ways that we will get through this time is to be lights for each other in the midst of the darkness.

Some days are survival days, but some days we have more time, energy and creativity to give to others. Some of us will have easier times in the midst of this too, when we aren’t as rushed, when we have more time with our children, and when we can explore hobbies we didn’t have time for before. In the times when we have the time, the energy, or the resources, let’s pay it forward in COVID-19. These are times when we can call people in nursing homes, set up a fun Zoom for our children and their friends, send a card, check on a family member, give things away that others would enjoy, donate food, support a local business, and on and on. All of these acts, both big and small, spark the light of hope and connection that can feel diminished when we are isolated. All of these acts remind us that we are loved, we aren’t forgotten, and that we will get through this together.

So in the moments when we can, let’s pay in forward in COVID-19. The light cannot be diminished by the darkness, and we can choose to be a light for someone every day.

Stephanie grew up with her family in Kirkwood, Missouri. She earned a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and then a Montessori degree in Atlanta, Georgia.  She also lived in Oklahoma for several years, and now calls Baton Rouge home. She taught PreK and Elementary school part time, full time, and had some stay-at home mom time when her babies were little. She teaches PreK four at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, and she loves being a teacher mom. In her free time, she enjoys going to Barre class, cooking, traveling, singing, girls' nights, trips to the beach, and spending time with friends and family. She and her husband have two adventurous, adorable boys, ages seven and thirteen, who keep life exciting and hilarious. 


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