700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Gratitude Reflections: Why Having Our Lives Turned Upside-Down Made Me More Grateful

May 05, 2020
Child having a birthday party with her stuffed animals at the dining room table

Our youngest daughter turned seven a few weeks ago. Knowing a traditional birthday party with friends and family was out of the question, we had to find another way to make her birthday special. So we held a party with her stuffed animals as guests. Adorned in party hats and surrounded by balloons, they were positioned around the table, serving as surrogates for the people who couldn’t be there. We served donuts while my daughter opened her gifts. A little while later, our neighbors surprised her with a birthday “car parade,” driving in front of our house in cars decked out with balloons and happy birthday signs. Her smile got bigger with each honk. At the end of the day, my daughter declared it was her “best birthday ever.”

Her reaction reminded me that, even during a global pandemic, there’s so much to be grateful for.

No doubt, the last few weeks have been difficult for everyone. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis that has profoundly impacted our lives, changing the way we live, work, learn and communicate.

Like most other families, we’re feeling the stress of being isolated at home; having our lives turned upside down and wondering when we’ll be able to return to our ordinary routines. I’ve felt overwhelmed at times. Besides running the household, I’m also the teacher, the playmate, the motivator and the person who keeps my family healthy – mentally, physically and emotionally.

My kids, who are 12, 9 and 7, have felt overwhelmed at times, too, not to mention sad, anxious and lonely. They miss playing with their friends and spending time with family members. They miss going to school and participating in extracurricular activities. My daughter is unhappy that she won’t get to experience “Pioneer Day” at school and my son is disappointed he won’t get to participate in the traditional “Fifth Grade Clap Out” on the last day of school.

The coronavirus has disrupted everyone’s lives and caused great hardship for many people, but some good has come out of it, too. It has brought people together for a common purpose, creating a sense of solidarity that we’re all in this together. I love how people in our neighborhood, our community and across the state are helping and supporting one another.

Each day, I take some time to reflect upon what I’m grateful for. It helps me stay centered when everything around me feels out of control. I’m grateful for a lot of things, but I really appreciate this gift of time my family has received as a result of coronavirus.

We have moved 11 times in 15 years, and this is the first time we’ve been able to slow down and take advantage of our time together. The kids love having their dad, Ryan, around all of the time. We’ve been riding bikes, taking walks, playing games, eating meals as a family, and spending quiet time on the porch listening to birds – and to each other. I’m so grateful we’ve been able to have these simple but special moments. They have brought so much joy into my life during a difficult period and given me memories to treasure the rest of my life.

As much as I’m cherishing this time with my family, I’m also looking forward to the upcoming football season. I can’t wait to see the Buckeyes – and my husband – in Ohio Stadium again. It will be fun to watch a good football game, but more important, their return will show that life is returning to normal. And we’ll all be grateful when that happens.

Click here to learn more about Growing Our Gratitude activities from On Our Sleeves™.

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Christina Day
Christina Day
Christina And Ryan Day Fund For Pediatric And Adolescent Mental Wellness

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.