“Sometimes we have to be intentional with how we create connections.”
If there is anything I have learned during this past year full of challenges and uncertainty, it’s that making meaningful connections takes vulnerability and intentionality. I am a mom of three – almost 17-year-old teen, four-year-old “I am too wise for my age” pre-kindergartener and one-year-old sweet baby boy. Somehow, when COVID-19 hit, I thought my kids would be immune and still maintain semi-normal active social lives. After all, there is social media and Zoom for my older one, daycare for my middle one, and hey, the little one just need his parents, right? None of this was even remotely close to the truth. My teenage daughter struggled with loneliness that she could at least articulate, and my younger ones were affected in more ways that I could have ever imagined. When my four-year-old boy looked at me one day and said, “I don’t have anyone to talk to – I must be a bad friend if no one wants to play with me,” I decided it is time to be intentional with how we create our connections.
When the restrictions around visitations were lifted, I decided to swallow my pride and reached out to a local online mom’s group asking if anyone would consider a playdate or wanted to connect and just talk. The response was overwhelming; I soon realized my kids and I were not alone. I connected with a local mom who had a son of a similar age and invited her for dinner. We followed COVID precautions, made sure kids were healthy, and they came over for dinner one random Tuesday night. It may seem strange – a person I have never met before and her son coming over on a whim; however, I discovered unlikely new friendship not for just my little one, but also for myself. We shared a meal, talked for a long time as our boys played, and discovered how different yet similar we were. Just like myself, she is a mom trying to do the best she can in this challenging time – and that in itself united us instantaneously. All the other components of who we are were just learnings and perks of getting to know each other; it was our vulnerability and desire to be connected with another human being that created our bond.
Since then, I take every chance to talk to people at the store, gym or anywhere else I go. People may not see my face behind the mask, but they can notice the smile in my eyes. Sometimes those small, short conversations seem so meaningless, yet they create a connection between all of us and remind us of our humanity and “togetherness.”
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