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Well, it’s here. At least in our part of the country, schools have started. First day pictures have flooded facebook pages and as a photographer I can honestly say, I see it in the faces of all the kids… THIS SUCKS!!!

My daughter was a Class of 2020 “graduate”. I use the quotation marks because well….was it REALLY a graduation? I can’t tell you the highs and lows that have hit this family since March 13th.

This week, my daughter started her very first day of “college” as she sat in her pajamas on her bed with a sour face. She’s already blown up at my older daughter and my older daughter is taking it as “She’s a BITCH!”…. Well, that may be the case on many days, it’s honestly so much more than that.

I’m on many facebook pages, most of which have to do with teens. One of the posts asked, “What should I do if my son tells me F-you to my face and to get the F-out of their room” (or something like that.). The admin turned off comments before I could give my two cents. (this is a huge pet peeve by the way. Just remove the damn post if you won’t let people respond…GRRRRR).

As I scrolled through the responses, it was exactly as I suspected… Moms who did not know the big picture were giving answers like, “Take away all their privileges” etc….

My response would have been a bit different, because I needed to know more. So I will answer her question here;

Is this normal behavior for your son? How long has this been going on? How old is your son? I would be curious to know the history of the family because that DOES play a HUGE role in how kids behave. But more than that, at this time in our lives, under the most TRYING challenges in our lives, I would be curious to know what is going on in his world. Based on those answers, I could give better guidance.

The truth is, at this time in our life, any ONE of us could be unraveling at an exponential rate. This shit that we are going through in this world today is HARD. We have NEVER seen anything like this in our lifetimes.

If you think back to 9-11 for those who lived through it… we were glued to our TVs for WEEKS and MONTHS. We watched as the embers of the twin towers smoked for what seemed like forever. We saw flyers of faces that were missing. We heard stories of family members looking for their loved ones and stories of hero’s who gave their lives for others. It was a truly devastating time. Yet, while we grieved, we could hug one another, we could hug our friends, our loved ones. We could lay in heaps and piles upon each other in total tears as we watched and prayed for stories of hope. We could leave our homes to go to the store, or the beach or take a short trip to get away and collect ourselves. It was awful, but we could turn to each other. We could convene….we could pray…TOGETHER….

Now, fast forward 18 yrs/ 6 mos….. We are in a time where the whole damn world is shut down. Touching is NOT acceptable, gatherings prohibited, economy crashing… parents and grandparents left to fend for themselves with no hugs or kisses from their loved ones. Kids left in their rooms on their devices to sort all this shit out and parents barely able to help because they too are struggling. The world of yesterday is GONE and you are left, literally ALONE to figure all this shit out. People are losing their minds judging each other so harshly, everyone feels one hundred percent free to post their every thought and belief on social media in hopes of what, God only knows? I have yet to read ONE POST and be converted from my beliefs. So it’s all bullshit in my opinion.

This world is not what we would ever expect or agree to live in. It’s the most divisive it’s ever been, and you are looking to strangers to answer a question with little to no facts. Well facebook mama, here is my answer… Your son needs you and he needs you more now than EVER before. He needs to know that you are there for him through thick and through thin and he needs to know that you aren’t going to rely on the opinions of complete strangers to guide you in your parenting.

Most of us are living day to day barely hanging on by a THREAD. Some have already unraveled and some have even cut the cord. The most important thing you can offer ANYONE in this day and age…is compassion. Patience. Understanding…and LOVE.

I will never forget when my daughter was a baby. She was my first; we were trying to keep a routine and it was time for her nap. I wanted to get her home so she could nap and I was getting stressed because wherever I was was taking longer than it should have. I felt the tension mount and then I looked down at my baby, who was carried in a sling at the time. Her eyes were so bright and blue and she didn’t have a care in the world. I literally looked at her and said, ‘You are exactly where you need to be right now and it doesn’t matter where we are because you have me and I have you!” It was such an AHA moment for me. We impose our own stress. But did you know, we can impose our own JOY?

The longer I live, the more I realize that joy isn’t a lifelong thing. Joy is in the moments. Moments are fleeting.

As we are all going through hell right now, we could easily sink downward. But we could also float.. And if we wanted to…we could even fly. The power is truly within us, we just need to find how to tap into it.

My dad once told me, “When you are feeling destructive, do something constructive”. It’s guided me through life. In my moments of despair when I feel I have no control, I pray. In moments where I’m frustrated, I take a drive. In moments where I’m REALLY pissed off, I tend to clean. You have never seen my house scatter so fast when I get to that point.

To my daughter who says her sister is a bitch… maybe so, but the question is WHY? If you stop and ask yourself that question it gives you a moment of pause to stop and ponder. And when you are looking at something from a point of curiosity…it’s impossible to be in a place of judging it.

This year is hard. It’s faced us with so many challenges, things we would have NEVER imagined in our lifetimes. I know for me, I thought all the hard times were behind us in history books. Little would I have imagined that we will likely one day be IN history books.

Do your best to find compassion in your heart for those who are struggling. Realize that Hurt people Hurt people. Or better yet…Unhealed people hurt people. We ALL need compassion and caring and laughter. LOTS of laughter!

But for your kids…their first day of school, many from their bedrooms…I’m going to ask that you help them find outdoor releases. Don’t let them be in their bedrooms all day. Make outdoor excursions whether it’s ice cream, a quick beach run, a walk in the park… just something so they aren’t stuck home all day every day. Be inventive. Outdoor picnics for lunch breaks. Help them find a piece of joy in every single day so they have something to look forward to.

Remember…this too shall pass. This one is passing a bit like a kidney stone, but with each day, we are one day closer back to our lives!!!

In love and health… Cat