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"The sweet spot" by Michele Faehnle (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: Pixabay.com, CC0/PD[/caption]

When I got the email reminding me that my Catholicmom.com article was due shortly, I thought “what should I write about in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?” As a public health nurse, my attention has been focused on following every press conference, CDC update and public health announcement. However as I pondered this post, I decided to write the blog post that had been swirling around in my brain for many months, before COVID-19 was even an issue in the United States, since the message is one that I feel is even more important than ever. 

A few months ago, a friend asked me “How is your family?”

I had to smile as I answered, “We’re doing great, I kind of feel like we are in a sweet spot.” Both of us are baseball moms, so the reference to hitting the ball on the perfect part of the bat to send it sailing to the outfield made us both smile.

She asked, “How so?” As I thought about my comment, I explained that while my two oldest were teens, they weren’t overly social and still home quite a bit and my two youngest were in primary school, and no longer babies. Doing things together as a family started becoming much more enjoyable.

“So are you doing more trips and things she asked?”

Then I had to laugh. Actually, despite the common thought of the importance of “making memorable moments" with our kids by taking day trips or going to special events, we all know how those usually turnout. “Not really,” I said, and I shared our recent family trip to the zoo to see the Christmas lights. Halfway there, we hit a huge traffic jam, the kids were fighting in the back seat, my husband lost his temper, and then I yelled at my husband. We made it to the zoo, incredibly irritated as we pushed through mobs of people and everyone just wanted to go home. However, we walked around for a bit, got some overpriced snacks and snapped a picture with fake smiles and posted our “perfect” moment on social media, making sure everyone knew what about our great night.

I shared with my friend that instead of these types of events, I really was enjoying the spontaneous moments in our life, like when my 14-year-old daughter asked me to play cards with her and her two sisters. A few minutes into the game, my son finished his homework and my husband came home from work and joined us. Another night, we were cleaning up after dinner and my husband asked Alexa to play the Jackson Five, which resulted in a spontaneous karaoke dance party.

As we laughed together, I tried to revel in the moment. I began to realize how important it was for me to savor these moments, because before I knew it, my son would be off to college. If I was given a dollar for every time someone has said to me “The days are long but the years are short” as I was struggling with toddlers to teens, I’d be a rich woman, but more and more I was seeing the truth in this statement.

We are in an extremely difficult time right now. We’re going to be spending more time with our families than ever. We know that with so much time cooped up together, we are going to get on each other's nerves. A lot. The kids will fight, parents will lose their tempers with their kids and each other. There will be screaming and yelling.

But in these trying times, try to take a moment to see the sweet spots. Take a deep breath and just watch your teenager help his 5-year-old sister do her Lexia 5 on his iPad and smile. Take a mental picture of your family sitting on the couch watching Mass livestreamed on TV. Listen at the doorway as your teens sing karaoke together in the basement and the little kids do gymnastics in the living room.

This situation, although terrible and difficult as it is, will be a memorable one. I pray there will be glimpses of beauty and family unity for you and your home. Please know I am praying for all of you, members of our Catholicmom.com family. May the protection of Almighty God be upon you and may you all stay well!

Copyright 2020 Michele Faehnle