Wrapped up in his favorite blanket on the floor—through tears—my kindergartener named off every single person in his class and why he missed them.

He sobbed and expressed how sad the images were that he happened to catch on the TV of people being sick and how he wanted them to just “be normal and not have to be afraid.”

He voiced how hard it is to stay six feet away from everyone when all he wants to do is hug people and play with his friends.

He rattled off things he wants to do like go on vacations again and ride roller coasters and go on adventures and play sports . . . and how frustrating it is that he can’t.

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After his heartbreaking heart-pour . . . there was a long pause as he caught his breath in his pillow and wiped away a couple of final tears. He finally turned his head to the side and his red eyes already said it before his voice finally did.

“I just want it to be normal, Mom.”

There’s something humbling about watching your child struggle with the same exact emotions you are.

Because as a parent, you want to help them learn how to navigate it knowing that this won’t be the last time they will encounter hardship. You want to teach them coping skills so they don’t have to feel the sadness so heavy every day. You want to protect them as much as possible while still being honest. You want to talk to them about resilience and the importance of doing the best we can with things we can’t control because there will be SO MANY THINGS to come in their lives that they will lose power over. You want to remind them that they’re not alone.

As human beings.

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You just want to cry with them. And you know how it feels to just need a good cry and not have anyone try to fix it for you.

So today, I was a fellow human.

I laid on the floor with him and told him I felt all of those things too. That I missed my friends. I missed normal life. I feel frustrated sometimes. And I’ve cried about those things, too.

Because just like we are all talking about the ups and downs of this thing on our group texts and social media feeds—our kids are feeling it, too. And just like some days we need to cry, and some days we need to find perspective and opportunities to grow . . . our kids need that, too.

There’ll be time to talk about resilience and overcoming obstacles and learning how to overcome fears in the future. Heck, maybe even tomorrow.

But today, he just needed to cry.

And maybe today . . . you do too, friend.

And that’s OK. You’re not alone.

We’re all humans experiencing human emotions through this thing . . . TOGETHER.

Originally published on The Thinking Branch

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.