My favorite upside of Covid

Don’t get me wrong, Covid has been miserable in sooo many ways; masks, seeing the dark side of people, limited activities and school functions. I missed my two littles getting their Christmas program this year. My outer two are going to get confirmed and first communion this year and it will be weird. Limited family members and subdued celebrations. Vacations stopped or dramatically changed. Sports being stopped and resuming in weird ways. I don’t wish to re-enter the nightmare that is Covid.

But – as many have pointed out, there have been some upsides to Covid shutting us down for a year. More family time, more intentional family dinners, or time to binge some great shows on Netflix. Neighbors out playing together as a larger bubble.

My favorite upside is the streaming. Because spectators are drastically limited, coaches, teachers, and parents have turned to streaming kids sports. For people like us, where grandparents live far away and can’t make it to activities regularly, streaming has been a great adaption. My dad would watch his granddaughters play softball on cold winter nights. My mom would send me texts after Jiggs’ swim meet. Mike’s mom would was able to watch Bug pitch which she hasn’t gotten to see much of before.

When Peanut went to tour a high school, her guide told us how her Italian teacher just recorded the lesson he already was streaming so that she could watch it later. The technical adaptations that came along for this Covid ride have been nothing short of amazing. I can’t imagine this 15 years ago before wifi was rare and no one had this technology in their pockets, classrooms.

As my three daughters will play on 4 softball teams this spring/summer, you can imagine that us parents will miss some games this year. Since Dad is coaching Bug this year, he will miss many of Jiggs games as they play the same night. Hopefully we can talk someone into streaming these games so we can watch them later.

I am excited to re-open and be able to play games without masks, have all kids in schools again, and so on. But I do hope that some of the positives like recording classes so kids can stay home when they are sick, but not miss the entire lesson or play sports and let parents “be in two places at once” continue.

You wear my name on your back

In 2021, we don’t talk a lot about the whole “shame” on a family if someone in the family messes up. We are each individuals in this space allowed to be who we are, and if we mess up, well, it’s on us. I think there’s a lot of value in allowing everyone to be an individual and to not paint a wide swath of dishonor on the whole family when one member makes a critical error of judgement or some other horrible choices. However, there is something to be said for tying us into the communities around us; be it the family, the school, the sports team, the nation, etc.

We are raising three daughters in this house with some wildly different personalities. If you’ve dealt with any two of them, you know that to be true. Add the third, and it’s just a lot of differences. I send them to a private school, and it’s often obvious that they belong to that community based on the dress code. They represent that school when they wear those clothes. People in the grocery store (preCovid) would know that a kid from that school let the door slam in their face or if they held the door open. They know if a kid from that school is being obnoxious or well behaved in public.

My kids all play sports/do group activities. They wear uniforms with the team’s name on their chest. Sometimes that name is their city. They represent themselves, the team/organization, Girl Scouts, etc. When they are out and about, they are more than just themselves when they are on the field, wearing the jersey, selling the cookies, etc

I tell them “You wear MY name on your back”. When you act ugly in public, you disgrace your name, my name, your sisters’ names (and let’s face it, your Dad’s because he gave all of us our names). You disgrace your team or organization.

You may be be an individual, but you are NOT a lone wolf. You belong to groups of people who believe in you, in your own innate worth, in your ability to do and achieve. As such, you will act like it. You will look people in the eye, you will speak respectfully to and of one another. You will remember that you wear our names on your backs. And, when are somewhere that is important to one of them, I remind the others they are wearing HER name on her back.

The same is true, though, of when they act well. When they play their heart out, and still thank the other team (win or lose) and the umpire for being there. When they sell the cookies, and look people in the eyes and say (and mean) thank you. When they hold the door open and when they do the right thing. When they don’t throw their helmet or bat, or come off the field after a tough inning and turn around to cheer on their team, they are representing their team. They are wearing my name on their back, and then I’m proud to wear their name on my back.

*Image courtesy of Nicole Lacoste Photography