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There are No Silver Linings Without a (Rain) Cloud

I’ve got two college-aged kids back home. I have been determined to let them be since they’ve returned, sensitive to the fact that they are pining for their friends and their freedom. There are times when I can barely restrain myself from questioning their choices, but I know they need their independence.

This is what that independence looks like:
  • By the time they wake up, I’ve already fed and walked the foster dog that my daughter promised she’d take care of and put in three or four hours of work.
  • By the time they get dressed (if they get dressed), I’m done with my work and my workout and ready to put my pajamas on.
  • By the time my son heads to the basement to visit (virtually) with his friends and my daughter heads to her room to do the same, I am in bed, covering my head with a pillow so I can fall asleep.

For the record, I can’t provide an accurate description of what they do in the waking hours that we share. There is a little online learning, a dog walk or two. There’s some grazing in the kitchen, and a lot of zoning out watching shows that even they think are stupid.

I was beginning to get a little twitchy about their homebound routine. But then last Saturday night, we had one of those torrential rain storms that seem to punctuate the change of seasons. On the heels of a very wet Friday, it poured down for hours. The water had nowhere to go except for our basement.

Had this been a typical Saturday night, my husband and I would have slumbered through it. But at  2 am, our son popped into our room and mentioned that some water was seeping into the basement. All of the sudden, having two nocturnal kids home due to a pandemic had its perks.

We bolted out of bed and headed downstairs to find that the words “some” and “seep” no longer applied to the situation. With a wet vac and buckets, the four of us bailed out water for the next three hours.

Gratitude is often a matter of perspective.

When my husband and I went for a walk later that day, all we could talk about was what we were thankful for:

  • That our son was awake so that we could deal with the problem promptly
  • That our kids were home so that we had the human power to counteract nature
  • That we are all healthy and strong (enough) to do hard physical work
  • That we had, in a flurry of empty-nester glee, done some major purging in our basement back in February
  • That our possessions that remained were safely stored on shelves and undamaged
  • That we had a most unusual yet unforgettable family bonding experience

In this time of the virus, it’s easy to feel frustrated and disappointed and sad and worried. There is no way to sugarcoat what’s happening. But that’s why we need to find silver linings whenever and wherever we can — even if they’re in the middle of a rainy night in a wet basement. They are part of this story too.

Jody Podl

Jody has spent her life around teens, as a teacher and as a parent of three.

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