When it’s over, what will my children remember about the pandemic? 

Will my 13-year-old remember a 7th-grade year without school dances or birthday sleepovers? Zoom calls replacing hanging out at the playground after school? Will he remember the boredom and loneliness the monotony would sometimes bring? 

Will my 9-year-old remember struggling with feeling sad and not knowing why? Extra video game time as sports practices were canceled due to city mandates? Will he remember the year we decided to homeschool after tremendous difficulties coping with the school’s virtual plan?  

Will they remember masking up? Our little row of hooks in the closet where they’d look for their favorite mask in the collection? Mom diligently doling out hand sanitizer after leaving a store? Strangely staying six feet apart from other humans at all times? 

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As a family, we have certainly made many good memories amidst the challenges. I will forever remember this time when my boys became all mine. But life isn’t meant to be pain-free and I’ll never paint a picture for my children that doesn’t respect their hurt and struggles, as well. 

The details will become blurred, but I do believe this year will be written on their hearts. The same way the hard times of my childhood are still etched into mine.

Our experiences shape us and I’m not blind to think this year hasn’t changed the trajectory of my boys’ lives in ways that aren’t yet mapped out.

My hope is that we all come out stronger but I know we will end up a little bent and bruised as well. 

For now, we plug along. We pat ourselves on the back for making it through a year where the world turned upside down. We will try to put on rose-colored glasses and keep making memories, cuddling on the couch and pushing back bedtimes a little longer. 

But we’ll acknowledge there are dreary days, too.

Whatever the future brings, I hope this year has taught my boys that we’ll always stick together, their feelings are important and they’ll never have to face a battle alone. 

Gillian Herrle

Gillian works in social media & marketing management by day and writes by night at By Gillian Claire. She is raising her two boys at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her middle school sweetheart. You can also find her on Instagram at @bygillianclaire