COVID -19 and Shiny Object Syndrome

Mother’s Day 2020 is in the record books, as they say. Of course it felt different. It was an unusual Mother’s Day. The peculiarity for most families mirrored the entire strange and divergent way 2020 has been playing out since COVID-19 has made its appearance in the United States and world wide. 2020 has been not much of what we hoped  it would be at the end of 2019.

I know Mother’s Day under normal circumstances can be a an emotional day for many people. Often there is an extra strong pull on the heart for the men and women whose mom has passed on. Missing one of the most valuable people in their life takes on a greater significance when everyone is spending time with their mom or is talking about their mom in the present tense. Their are those people that are suffering a new loss whether from this virus or other causes. This fresh loss has sharper edges right now due to all the restrictions on our lives.  Then their are others that don’t have a close relationship with their mom. Maybe their mom suffered from mental illness, alcoholism or drug addition in the past or now.  The past cannot be erased and even when trying to bridge a new relationship feels possible it can be extremely unsteady and very shaky. Other mother’s while physically present were and  continue to be emotionally unavailable.  Or, the mom they have just isn’t the type they need. For some this pandemic offers a  great excuse not to see their mom. For others the pandemic highlights an important missing link in their family either physically or emotionally.

Some people were able to see their mom in a socially distant way. In a backyard, on a driveway or as one of my dear friends did through an open window of a first floor  apartment.  While this is better than nothing, it certainly isn’t how they planned on spending Mother’s Day. For many, and especially those in the North East the colder weather did not allow for outside visits to be as lengthy as the typical brunch, afternoon lunch, or dinner visit. No physical affection was possible. While certainly these short visits are than not spending any time together, I cannot help but miss the way things were in prior years.

Some moms even in this very stressful and difficult  year received super, fabulous expensive gifts but most did not. Most were extremely lucky to receive hand written cards,  home made gifts or super market flowers. These items will be remembered lovingly forever.  This year has been the antithesis of Shiny Object Syndrome.   I have not seen any pictures of jewelry, handbags, clothes, new or second homes, or new cars on social media.   Instead instagram showed pictures of children of all ages and stages with their moms from previous times. Many who are living under one roof posted  new pictures together yesterday.  The day, for many had an  earnest feel of affectionate and warmth.

Most women and men do love getting gifts. In our society it has become part of the way we celebrate and show our love to someone we deeply care about.  I personally love gifts like a new bottle of perfume, or a pretty scarf , a new handbag, or a sparkly, shiny, new piece of jewelry. But, the older I get the the less it means to me.   It is time with family and the friends that have become our family that I truly cherish.  For me there will never be enough of those days.

For all the horrors that this virus, COVID- 19, has created – from loss of lives, shuttered business, temporary lay offs , and permanent job loss – I find a  beauty and joy in the simple family things.  I have all three of my twenty something daughters living at home since the weekend of March 13th. While there have definitely been moments over the last eight weeks that  I have felt the family dynamics shift  like a pendulum and I’ve  witnessed my home feel like a pressure cooker I know I wouldn’t change it for  all the diamonds in the world.  My daughters who are usually calm and centered, all l have a strong personalities at times just like their mama.  I love witnessing their strength and passion because I know it serves them well and will continue to take them far in life.  I wish their strength wasn’t  being utilized in our home,  but rather towards outside forces.  Yet, again I wouldn’t change this for the rubies or sapphires in the  world because these are the special family times that cannot be replaced. These memories will become the family folklore that they will pass down to their children.

This Mother’s Day may have been painful or fabulous or merely just altered, but it has forever taken on a different appearance. I for one am appreciative that unwittingly COVID-19 has tamped down the Shiny Object Syndrome and let us focus on what is really important – one another.

PS- If you have lost one someone recently or if the pain is still fresh in your heart this might seem trite or ridiculous. Please know I am sending you my deepest sympathies, support, love and light.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *