A Life on Pause – An open letter to my boys

To my boys,

I want to write this to you as a record of my thoughts 15 months into this Pandemic, thinking about everything we have all been through.

The history books will be full of the stories about the coronavirus, and the strange thing is that it is likely that you, when you are much older will be asked to tell your stories, much as I asked my own grandparents about the World Wars when I was at school.

I am so proud of you both. When I think of all the disruption you have experienced in the past 15 months, school stopping without warning, Joseph, you having to choose your GCSEs without all the support you would have normally received and having your much anticipated skiing trip cancelled overnight. Daniel, your first athletics season at secondary school, a chance for you to really excel at something you love and be part of the school community, taken away in a matter of days.

Several months home schooling, not being able to see friends, celebrate birthdays and then having numbers restricted of who you could see and when.

Returning to school but expected to adjust to being sent home without warning due to numerous positive cases, back on screens, doing your best to learn and understand outside of the classroom environment.

Plays and performances cancelled, trips postponed and 2 more lockdowns and another lengthy period of home-schooling to persevere with, get up, stay motivated and get through it all as best you can.

And finally, back at school, having to wear masks all day and testing twice a week.

You are my children, who are moving through the teenage years, challenging at the best of times, but even more challenging right now. Things that you need, time with friends, doing the activities you love, just exploring who you are, making mistakes and learning from them, and just having fun.

I don’t want you to have been exposed to all this adult content, things that we, as grown-ups struggle to understand, about fear of death, dying and losing the people we love.

I don’t want you to be worried about hugging your grandad, worried that you might make him ill, that is not fair and not a burden you should ever have had to bear.

I have protected you in the only way I know how, by talking when you can listen, explaining as best I can and going all out to make sure you have as much fun in your lives as I can find. I love your love of sport as I see your happiness and fulfilment of going back to the things you really enjoy, and this comes above any academic work right now. I want you both, more than anything to rediscover that life can be fun again, that we will not be living by rules forever, that to explore and enjoy every day is what matters for our happiness and well-being.

My commitment to you is that I will make sure I put this at the forefront of everything we do, so you remember the tough times, but also remember that you came out the other side, and life could be okay again, events could happen again, and you are stronger and more resilient for your experience.

Love Mum x

If you have teenagers or children about to reach this time in their life, who are dealing with not only the difficult times these years can bring but also the effects of the pandemic, you may be interested in joining my ‘Tools for Teens – Understanding the Teenage Brain’ self-paced online programme taking place from the 12th – 16th July. Find out more here.

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