Can I breathe now?
I'll never forget my first trip to the bakery with my children wearing masks after the pandemic started. Taking young children into a store can be risky as I'm sure you have all experienced. Tantrums and emergency bathroom runs makes many moms unwilling to take their children on errands.
Yet it was the first lockdown and I needed to keep the kids busy, so off we went to the bakery. As we exited the car I reminded my children to put on their masks. I was nervous- how would they manage? What does a tantrum look like while wearing a mask? Will my child hear my muffled voice under the mask?
Just having somewhere to go was exciting. I have to admit they looked quite cute in their masks with charachter designs and the way they wore it with a sense of importance. So far so good.
We entered the store and chose our yummy freshly baked bread and treats. As we were waiting in line I heard a small voice. "Mommy- Is it possible I can take a deep breath now?" My three year old wanted to know if he was allowed to breathe.I felt a pang. I bent down to his level and looked him in the eye. I assisted him in taking his mask off for a second and said " Zalman you can breathe now." Without a beat he took a breath and smiled at me as if giving him the opportunity to breathe was the greatest gift and then promptly put his batman mask right back on.
After that I ask myself this question all the time: "Can I breathe now?" Am I so overwhelmed, stressed or frusturated that I need to bottle in my breath? Am I feeling so empty or lonely that I don't give myself the opportunity to take a breather?
I can allow myself to breathe, I can fill myself with fresh air and hope. The air gives me the lift to smile and realize what great gifts I have been given.