Dear kids, 

Thank you for being the strong ones. 

Really, I mean it.

I don’t know if the world has said that to you these last few weeks, so I’m saying it now. 

We’ve all been looking outward to the obvious (and incredible) heroes. The selfless healthcare workers. The brave cashiers. The food distributors. The hardworking teachers. All the individuals who have been keeping society spinning while the rest of the world stays home. 

Those people are heroes, no doubt about it—but I don’t feel like we’ve spent enough time looking inward to the ones who fill our own homes. To you. The kids. 

This pandemic has uprooted your entire life, just like ours. And even though you don’t have to carry the weight of health anxieties or paying the bills, everything you thought you knew about the world changed in the blink of an eye.

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A lot of people have had to make BIG sacrifices during this . . . but so have you. You don’t say much about it, but I bet you have so many questions. 

You don’t get to go to school to see the friends and teachers you adore. The t-ball season you’ve been looking forward to for months has been put on hold—maybe for good. The overnighter we promised you at the hotel with the fun pool isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

You don’t understand why you can’t see your grandparents whenever you want, or why it’s been almost a month since you last saw your cousins, who you’re used to playing with a few times a week. There have been no mommy-kid dates or family trips to the park. We’ve suddenly stopped talking to you about any plans we had for summer, because we simply don’t know what life is going to look like by then.

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The things you’ve given up may seem small, but the reality is you’re missing out on foundational pieces of your childhood. And yet, you’ve taken it all in stride. You ask a lot of questions, sure, but you rarely complain.

You’ve been such a light.

Your innocent, child-like happiness is contagious, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve been making so many hearts smile.

Like the garbage man who knows which window to find you in on Fridays as you wave wildly in his direction, thanking him for his continued service.

The grandparents whose eyes light up as you ham it up in front of the camera during a video call, providing them with a few moments of comic relief.

The neighbors who point at the chalk murals you’ve drawn on the sidewalk. I just know the happy colors brighten their day.

And your daddy and me, whose souls are warmed to the core by your laughter. The echo of it bouncing off our walls reminds us how sweet life truly is.

You always ask me to carry you, but don’t you know that it’s you who’s carrying me right now? 

Thank you for helping me find peace in the midst of chaos. 

Thank you stepping up to help when you sense I’m having a bad day. 

Thank you for showing me every single day is an adventure, as long as we’re together.

Thank you for being gentle and gracious when I’m not at my best.

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Thank you for reminding me that this, too, shall pass, and that life is beautiful even when circumstances are not.

In case no one has told you, sweet kids—YOU are the unexpected (and underappreciated) rocks the rest of us never even knew we needed to lean on.

Because of your love, we will make it through.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward