The last seventeen months were not created equal for all of us. Some of us suddenly spent more time with our kids than we ever imagined. Schools were shut down. Childcare options were limited. They couldn’t go out and be with their friends. Other parents were suddenly separated from their kids. Because borders were closed. Because they were essential workers. Because travel was more difficult. Because someone was sick.
In either case, the lesson was there: Life is fragile. The world is unpredictable. You cannot take time with your kids for granted.
While others have flippantly talked of “looking forward to things going back to normal,” we know now that such a thing can never happen. We know we don’t ever want that to happen. Because normal was not only what caused this, but the old normal involved us taking so many things for granted. It involved us living reactive lives instead of proactive ones, assuming at every turn that we’d always have time with our kids whenever we wanted it.
The many months we’ve spent with our families (or the months we spent apart from our families) should teach us that we have to be intentional about our relationships. This time should remind us, as Epictetus said, that we never truly possess those who are precious to us. That we must cherish them while we can, that we must put them first while we can, that we should come out of this stronger, more connected, and present. Forget going back to normal.
Make a new, better normal out of this.