I’ve been sleeping next to you each night.

You stand up, and with screaming, sobs call out, “Mommy!”

I run to your room.

You draw your breath as I wipe your eyes and caress your face to calm you down. The tears always stain my pajamas, but they also stain my heart. Your skin craves cuddles.

So, I lie with you.

Because I need your tears to go away.

And these are the times to be extra needy.

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These are scary and uncertain times—

and we need each other.

You don’t know what’s going on, but you sense a change that has made it harder for us to be apart.

We don’t go outside our property.

We haven’t been to your favorite music classes or play spaces.

We haven’t been going to the park where you and your sister play tag, running in fear from each other.

So, I lie with you.

Though I try not to show it, you feel my emotional pain.

Pain for all those who have lost someone to COVID-19 or are very sick.

Pain for my babies because their lives have been flipped upside down.

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Pain for all the people suffering outside of COVID with loss and day-to-day tragedy.

Pain for all those suffering with their mental health.

It’s a lot to take. And sometimes I feel all the hurt I’m holding in seeping through my pores.

You won’t remember these nights together, you in my arms.

But, they’re just as comforting to me as they are to you.

Years from now, you’ll learn about this time in history class.

You’ll start to ask questions about social distancing, and what the world was like.

And I’ll tell you it was hard, but we got through it together as a family.

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And I laid with you each night.

You and your sisters made it bearable because you were all my hope for a better tomorrow.

When I gave birth to my children, I invested in the future—and I knew because you were all in it—everything would be OK.

Previously published on the author’s Facebook page

Dani Sherman-Lazar

Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to three daughters. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and like it on Facebook. Her book Living Full: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorders is available on Amazon.