My dad had a lot of dad-isms. A lot of stories to impart wisdom. One that sticks out today is the Mickey Mouse Club. I don’t remember if I was upset about a certain happening or if he was preemptively telling me.
It goes a little something like this: when children auditioned for the Mickey Mouse Club, the producers would tell them they didn’t make the cut whether they did or not. Then they would observe their actions. If a child had a tantrum, even though they were going to let them in, they thought better of it and moved along to a more rational child.
Do I think children should contain themselves no matter what happens? No. But I also felt it taught me a lesson about grace and gratitude. I wanted to do my best, I wanted to make things like the school play or be in the front row of the dance squad. But I learned when I didn’t get what I wanted, I still needed to have some sort of positivity and poise.
That brings me to now. Coronavirus unfurled and events of the city were brought to a halt. Mentioning Mickey Mouse Club is an especially sore subject because I was going to take my kids to Disney on Ice, and it has now been cancelled. I haven’t told them yet.
What I’ve arrived at, with the help of my dear father’s counsel once again, is that we need to embrace our current state with both grief and gratitude. Our kids are not alone in this unprecedented pandemic (unprecedented in their lifetime, at least). Adults alike are mourning the loss of basketball, the St. Patrick’s parade, and sanctioned races. Our lives are disrupted and things we’ve looked forward to for months are no longer an option.
So, let’s throw a little pity party. Kids … this stinks. Guess what? Your nearly 40-year-old mom has never seen anyone perform on ice, either. Resist the urge to put a happy spin on the cancellation of an important event, and let everyone feel their feelings. Ask your children how they’re feeling, and openly listen to their responses without swaying their thoughts.
But after we’re done, let’s take a moment to all reflect on the big picture together. Long-distance thinking can be very helpful when dealing with disappointment. No, we are not going to do our plans right now — we aren’t even going to the parks right now. This season is a blip in the grand scheme of our lives, though, and with our help our children can grasp that and remain calm.
Just in this one instance, I want to take the opportunity to show my kids the big picture. Here are a few points that could likely be applied to several events:
- You are not alone in not getting to attend this event; there are a lot of people who were looking forward to it.
- There are some people who are affected by missing pay because they work for Sprint Center or are a performer who isn’t going to make as much (I hope they still get paid, but I don’t know!). Regardless, even if Sprint Center makes provisions for their staff, they will still lose pay from tips and such. Obviously, this applies to several members of our community in the service industry and is a concern.
- We are going to do something else fun! It might not be the same event, but we are going to have fun as a family and we are still going to enjoy this fun little mystery called life.
- As of now, we have our health and each other. I’m so thankful for what we have even though we’re changing our routines and participation in things right now.
- We are all in this together, doing this for a reason. A lot of us could probably brush coronavirus off like a mildly inconvenient cold. This isn’t about us. We’re distancing ourselves socially to make sure our community, and other communities have the best chance of maintaining health and wellness.
- Miley Cyrus. Go with me here. One time I was really excited to see Miley, and she cancelled. I was crushed. But my friends Michael, Mason, and I enjoyed tapas at La Bodega since I already had a sitter and made lemonade out of lemons. Or wine out of grapes. Whatever. My point is, she eventually came back and our tickets were still good. I saw Miley in all her glory and taped-up boobs. The events of life aren’t certain, but if we’re able to go with the flow and appreciate the tokens of daily life, we might be pleasantly surprised about the fun that ensues. The key is to be fluid and flexible.
I’m proud of our community. None of us want to miss events and experience disappointment. We are also ever cognizant that disappointment is going to be a part of life, and a part of our children’s lives. The way we go through this together can make the difference of how we approach all those curveballs that inevitably will take place in this wonky journey.
Thanks for being in this together, KC comrades. I know our mom collective is ready to be a shoulder to lean on, a box of wine inventory to rely on, a Netflix suggestion to last through spring vacation, a “how are we going to get through the workday at home with children” to vent to, and first and foremost – we will uphold the dissemination of information that keeps our community thriving. We’re going to get through this, disappointments and all, together.