Family Bonding During the Pandemic

Ryan and Lindsey Watson’s Reflections

“We have always been a close family committed to spending as much time together as possible. But the reality of our pre-pandemic world was that this ‘time’ was often limited to a rushed breakfast in the morning before everyone departed (kids for school, parents for work) and a quick dinner before bedtime when we all returned.

While the pandemic has clearly been a terrible ill for society, like many we are trying to find those silver linings as we emerge from this dark period. One of those silver linings, at least for our family, has been an increased focus on family time, a newfound ability to have much more of it, and commitment to view that time as sacred.

Our mornings, while still crazy, are more conscious and we as parents are more present than we were before. Don’t get us wrong, there is still the standard ‘wheels falling off the bus’ stress when one child doesn’t want to pick an outfit or another refuses to eat their Cheerios. But we have a newfound appreciation for how brief these moments are and we’re trying to appreciate them and slow down when possible.

The hours between breakfast and dinner have been the real gamechanger. We are now both able to drop the kids off at school and do it in a healthy and enjoyable way. We bike to Sears and walk to a nearby Montessori school. It’s a fantastic way to get some fresh air, a bit of exercise, and some 1–1 time with our kids. When we get back to the eerily quiet house, it’s still work work work. But we are enjoying the opportunity to replace in-office coffee breaks with at-home dog walks around the block. Same amount of time, but for us a more enjoyable way to spend those 15 or 20 minutes.

And after work, instead of a rushed dinner after the train rolls into Kenilworth, we are now able to pick the kids up at school and have a little bit of play time before dinner. The whole evening feels more relaxed and enjoyable.

Finally, getting a chance to watch sibling bonds grow has been touching. They still love to antagonize each other and the occasional shove or scratch is inevitable, but during the early days of the pandemic the girls only had each other and that reliance now shows (in a good way). They continue to grow together and as parents that is a wonderful thing to watch.

So while we are ecstatic to bid farewell to COVID in the (hopefully) near future, we try to take time as a family to remember that even in our darkest times there are always rays of light. For our family those blessings have centered around more time together and closer bonds with one another.”

May 17, 2021

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