Snippets of joy: surprising things that have made me smile while parenting through the coronavirus crisis

Looking on the bright side.
Looking on the bright side.  Photo: Supplied

I'm not going to lie,  the last couple of weeks have been exhausting. 

Working full-time from my dining room table while overseeing the home-schooling schedules of my two primary school aged sons while my husband is away for work - it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's really tough.

But, somewhere between getting my head around how to use Google Classroom, dealing with technical issues that come with working remotely and worrying about where our next pack of toilet paper will come from, I have managed to find snippets of joy in some unexpected places.

Here are four surprising things that have made me smile at a time when it seems the only thing left to do is cry. 

Waking before dawn

Dragging myself out of bed at 5am for work is not a new thing for me. However, previously the two hours that followed my early morning wake-ups were filled with busyness - packing lunches, organising school bags and laying out uniforms. Then I would negotiate either Sydney's chaotic traffic snarls or unreliable train system to make my way to the office by 7am. 

Now the two or three hours after I wake up are an ocean of calm.

I still rise just as early as I need to get a start on my day's work before my kids wake up and the 'school' day starts, because that's when the real juggle begins. But, instead of rushing around, I enjoy a hot coffee while I sit in silence and work. My dog keeps me company at my feet and there is a kookaburra outside my front window that lets out an infectious laugh as the sun comes up. Sure, it's early. But, all in all, it's not a terrible way to start the day.

My son's shower solos

Every day at about 3.30pm, right after our family session of PE with Joe, my eldest goes upstairs for a shower. From downstairs, where I sit at my computer continuing my work day, I am treated to a solo performance that might lack much actual talent, but is not short on enthusiasm. 

Did my first born always sing so passionately in the shower? I'm not sure. Maybe I was too busy rushing to get dinner on the table, or trying to get my kids out the door to one of their many weekly sporting commitments, to notice. 

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All I know is, right now, the sound of my 11-year-old's happy tunes makes me smile. If my son can still sing his heart out, at a time when the world as he knows it is turned upside down, then he is doing OK, right?

Fortnite

​Yep, the game that parents everywhere have been warned will turn our sons into aggresssive future criminals. Who knew I would grow to appreciate it so much in the coronavirus world?

Normally a 'no Fortnite during the school week' rule is a strictly in place in my house. But nothing is normal right now, so some rules have been thrown out and I'm glad this is one of them. 

My sons do their best to focus on their set school work during the day, working hard but missing classmates that usually work right alongside them. 

But come 3.25pm, when the final school bell would be ringing if all was well with the world, they are allowed to log-on to Fortnite where they join their real life friends to play in a make believe world. They laugh, chat and ask each other about their day. Listening to their friendly banter makes me smile.

Sure, I would prefer they bonded while kicking a soccer ball around together at the local park, but sadly we all know that's not an option right now. So if Fortnite provides a virtual playground for my boys to escape to with their friends for a little while each day, that's fine by me.  

Sibling harmony

Something strange has taken place in my house over the past couple of weeks and, according to friends, I am not alone. Siblings who previously would bicker and pick on each other at any given opportunity are all of a sudden appreciating each others' company, laughing together, looking out for each other and generally being good buddies. 

Kids are observant and, no matter how much we try to shield them from our fears and anxieties, they realise we are facing an unknown future right now. Perhaps they also realise their family, including their previously annoying brothers and sisters, will be the only allies by their side for at least a little while as we all bunker down at home. 

Hopefully the new respect my boys appear to have for each other will continue when this crisis is over and our lives return to some kind of normal. Even if it doesn't, for now it makes me happy.