My 10-year-old daughter telling her friends over FaceTime that she can only have Lucky Charms on her birthday and during a pandemic sums it all up pretty accurately right now.

We are in survival mode. We are on electronic devices more and eating more junk.

My dog does not want to go for another walk.

My four-year-old is calling her crab from her new Lego set, “Sir Claps a Lot.” And when she says it, it sounds like, “Sir Craps a Lot.” Or maybe that’s just on my mind because of a recent request I saw from a neighbor looking to exchange two rolls of toilet paper for a box of elbow macaroni. Everyone is talking about toilet paper.

These are strange times.

Bomstein girls eating cereal during the 2020 quarantine
My 13-year-old son, a 7th grade student at Tampa Prep, is like a caged animal. He wants out! When he was playing a video game the other day, I started dancing in his door way, to which he later responded with an epic eye roll and a, “What were you doooooing?”

Yesterday, when I went to Publix to grab a couple of items, it made me cry. It was eerily quiet and everyone was very serious as they eyed the remaining produce. The shelves were bare, and it all felt apocalyptic. The young girl in front of me at the register was so smiley and friendly that that made me cry too. A little kindness goes a long way.

At times I feel like a Golden Retriever. When someone walks down my street, I start panting and wagging my tail, begging for interaction, “See me, talk to me, talk to me.”

I wake up in the morning and have to recalibrate. Oh yes, right, this isn’t a dream I’m walking up from, this is our new reality for the time being. So I get dressed, make my bed, and then realize, I am not going anywhere. It is surreal. The parameters are confusing and ever changing.

So rather than make me, my husband, and kids more crazy than we are already are, we are taking this new normal one day at a time. I am letting go of expectations. I am embracing not knowing.

It is stressful, anxiety ridden, and scary enough as it is. I am trying to be chill, but when I do freak out - like I just did about the pantry door being wide open and the wet towel on the floor - I am being forgiving with myself too.

Keeping a sense of humor and thankfulness for all that is good and working right now is keeping us afloat. If my four-year-daughter is in front of the T.V. longer than usual so I can get some work done, then so be it. If frozen macaroni and cheese is what is for dinner again tonight, then that’s okay too. Now is not the time to go crazy about one’s consumption of greens.

If our kids learn anything from this time - in addition to appreciating frozen dinners , of course - may it be a deeper understanding about the importance of connection, kindness, compassion, and respect for ourselves and other human beings.

May they have a renewed faith in themselves, that they can get through tough times.

And as parents, may we find the strength and fortitude right now to provide ourselves, as well as our kids, with extra space. Space to mess up and say stupid things, space for forgiveness, and space to just be without having to be productive. Right now that is good enough.

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--Lindsay Bomstein, mom to Will '25