So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I idled in the driver’s seat when the masked man strode past my door and knocked on the trunk. I pushed the release button and watched him toss the plastic bag in, slam the trunk shut, and run off without a word. It was quick and dreamlike. Driving home from Target I asked aloud, “Is this real life?” I felt like a character in the first act of a horror movie; no fateful circumstance had befallen me, but in mere days an eeriness had settled over my interactions with the “outside” world. For months now, it has felt as though something sinister has been percolating beneath the surface of normal family life, while an unease and a sense of incompleteness has been permeating my frame of mind.

At first, I thought that the outside world felt surreal because I see so few faces now.

To be fair, I am not Will Smith, sole survivor of New York City in I Am Legend. There are people around. Or signs of them, anyway. Drab cardboard boxes of provisions appear on our porch, delivered by drivers we never see. An errant soccer ball lies on the back lawn, our 8-year-old neighbor now afraid to hop over and retrieve it. Strangers fetch our dinner from restaurants after unseen faces take our order, prepare our food, and box our meal.

Still mulling over my unease after my Target run, I entered the house to the sounds of screaming. In the family room, my two boys were arguing over who broke the green lightsaber. The voices and volume felt familiar, almost comforting. “Maybe,” I mused, “I hate how quiet it is out there.” Our home feels more chaotic since the pandemic, yes, but it is not at all quieter. Our house remains a loud space where my husband and I still find little time to speak privately while social distancing with two young boys.

RELATED: For Someone Who’s Never Alone, I Feel So Lonely

Outside the home, though, I have lost simple daily conversation: chatting with the barista, the parents at drum class, the moms at school. I miss the little moments that recharge an extroverted stay-at-home-mom and bind me to my community.

What is worse, my few live encounters with others have ceased to be energizing, discolored now by risk and implication.

A partition separates me from the cashier at the local market. On walks, neighbors cross the street when we approach. The one time I ventured out to buy dinner, I waited outside the cafe until a lone customer completed his transaction inside. Just a few months ago, my boys and I had discussed how lucky we are to live in such a safe area. Now everyone is a conceivable threat, even me.

Online interactions are only slightly more satisfying. On Google classroom, my 6-year-old speaks to friends reduced to glitchy one-inch squares. I watch my frustrated 8-year-old manage brief conversations amid the din of 20 housebound third graders speaking at once. Zoom dinners are nice, but the “meeting” invitations we send each other underscore the app’s intended purpose. During a Zoom game night, a friend left to use the restroom, and I found myself staring sadly at her empty chair. It made me miss her in-person visits more.

RELATED: To My Friends Still Social Distancing

While meetups allow me to see and hear loved ones, they do little to shake off the disquiet I have carried since March, the strange sense that I am not living my real life. Then one evening the true source of my anxiety became clear when I participated in another Zoom gathering. As we all adjourned for the night, a friend pressed a palm to his computer screen before logging off. Then it hit me. I and the people I am closest to are tactile. We hug hello. We hug goodbye. We hold each other’s hands when we are upset. We rub each other’s backs when we are scared. We pat each other’s shoulders when we are excited.

We know that touch is the first sense a baby develops in the womb. We know, too, that a caring touch can stimulate growth in children and alleviate a variety of physical and emotional difficulties in adults. While I know that needs and comfort zones differ person to person, I also know that more than faces, more than voices, I miss touching.

I want to hug my mom to validate the ache I know she feels for her absent children and grandchildren who, until March, had been the source of perpetual drop-in visits.

I want to shake the hands of our principal and teachers to thank them for their Herculean efforts these past weeks.

I want to hold my dad’s hand in communion as he serenely reminds me that nothing lasts forever.

RELATED: Missing This Time With Loved Ones Hurts

I want to watch my boys grab their cousin Ashley’s hand and run with her to the lawn, to watch them curl up with my husband’s mother while she reads “Dragons Love Tacos.”

There has been much talk about “when this is over.” What will feel safe when this is over? How will we even know when this is over? I have given up trying to guess when our strange way of life will be over. I do know, though, that my own unease, my own feeling of incompleteness, will be over when I no longer rely on touch screens and touchpads and can instead offer and receive an unfettered, utterly human touch.

Originally published on Scary Mommy

Elizabeth Allison

Elizabeth Allison is a former educator, current children’s author, and the mother of two elementary school-aged children. https://thewriteprofile.com/

I’m the Quiet Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, smiling, black-and-white photo

I’m the quiet mom. The shy mom. The highly introverted mom. The mom who doesn’t do very well in social situations. The mom who tries to be social but usually comes off as a little awkward. I don’t overly like this about myself. But it’s who I am. I could try to change this about myself. I could try to be the outgoing mom. The social mom. The loud and extroverted mom. And I have tried. However, completely changing who a person is at heart is not something that can be easily done. Complete change is also very unlikely to...

Keep Reading

Here’s to the Strong Ones Living with Type 1 Diabetes

In: Living
Pregnant mom on beach, black-and-white photo

This is a shout-out to all the sweet girls. The ones hustling so hard to live like normal. The ones with type 1 diabetes. Some of you have been living with diabetes as long as you have been breathing. Some of you are newly diagnosed and need to know someone who has been managing diabetes for years. I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years, and I see you. Whether you have been diagnosed for 17 hours or 17 years, chances are I’ve felt what you feel too.  I’m here to tell you that type 1 diabetes...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

Witch, Please! Hocus Pocus 2 Release Date Means the Sanderson Sisters Countdown Is ON

In: Living
Bette Middler in Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+

“Lock up your children!” screeches Winifred Sanderson (played by Bette Midler) in the teaser trailer for Disney’s long-awaited Hocus Pocus 2 movie. But I say, “Mark your calendars!” Disney revealed the release date for this much-anticipated sequel and I’m happy to report that the Sanderson sisters will be flying above Salem and to your Disney+ stream on September 30th! The countdown is ON! Check out the trailer and get excited! But first, a confession:  I have to be honest, I was 16 when the original Hocus Pocus came out, but for some reason I never saw it until I was...

Keep Reading

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend, I Don’t Want To Lose You

In: Friendship
Two women smiling, color photo

I’m sorry I don’t text you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t call you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t check in to see how you are. I’m sorry this friendship can feel one-sided at times. I’m sorry I’m so distant. The truth is I’m struggling. I’m struggling with life. I’m struggling with finances. I’m struggling with trying to please everyone and do everything. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it The problem is I try to please everyone—everyone who doesn’t matter. My problem is I’ve gotten so content with our friendship that I know you’ll...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

I Traded My Body for This Full Life

In: Living, Motherhood
Happy family smiling

It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was cradling my firstborn child—my rainbow baby—tenderly in my arms as she contentedly nursed. I looked down at this beautiful miracle, unable to mirror her blissful content. Six weeks after the birth, I was still feeling like garbage. Being a first-time mom, I figured the fatigue was par for the course. My other symptoms, however, were suspect. Will I see my daughter grow up? were my thoughts as the streams of grief flowed, pooling on her swaddle. At my medical check-up, I brought my concerns to my doctor...

Keep Reading

The Truth is I’m Drowning

In: Living
Woman with hand on face sad

I find myself sinking. Really disappearing. Everyone around me sees me. They see my smile, my involvement, my willingness to please and participate. No one notices how easily I shift between despair and real tears and conforming to what the situation requires of me. Sometimes this shift happens within the matter of minutes.  Not waving, but drowning. I’m on a weight loss journey. The scale told me I am down just over four pounds. And I feel really good about that. I know I have another 15 to 20 to go, but I am four down. I made a promise...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime