I have a daughter who is moderately middle age; she has a six-year-old daughter in first grade; they live in Virginia and I live in New Jersey. After it was clear that there would be school closings across the country, I first received news from my daughter that they were coming to visit; later it was made clear that there was no end date on the stay. While my daughter and I could navigate for weeks with limited provisions — I could not expect the same of a six-year-old. The day before they arrived I braved the Costco shopping experience and came home victorious with coveted rations — including toilet paper.
My family arrived on Saturday and by Monday there was a home school rhythm developing; Just dance was substituted for PE class. Then later during the week came the news. My daughter sat me down and there was genuine panic in her eyes when she announced that the schools informed parents classes were canceled for the remainder of the year. As the elder in the house, I tried genuinely to make the best of it –I was promptly told I was not being empathetic and was actually given a short YouTube video clip to view on the subject. I have one daughter, and one granddaughter and I thought to myself, “this is not going well.”
I listen, advise, and execute on a daily basis – now I had to practice at home. I can’t change the circumstances but I can change how I respond. I tried to engage more during working hours. I participated in Movie night… and I don’t watch TV, a tip I picked up from Tim Ferris to help increase my creativity and productivity in my work-life balance. We started eating, talking, taking walks together. I am in awe at how my daughter has grown into a caring mother. I feel blessed to have this time with my granddaughter who keeps me humble. While we don’t know when this will end, we do know that it will and when it does we will be stronger, better, and more grateful for life.