Lucky to Live with a Toddler
by Lynn Campbell
You might assume that a semi-retired couple of a certain age would have a quiet and pristine home. No Lego or toy trucks to trip over. No stack of coats and shoes in all different sizes by the front door. No potato chip crumbs on the floor and no picture books scattered around. And certainly no diapers to change.
Our reality is more like “The Odd Couple”—the Oscar side, not the Felix side.
We are blessed to live with a toddler.
My husband and I are young seniors, living in a multigenerational home. The toddler in our household gets full credit for keeping us sane during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the little one smiles and says “Good morning” in his adorable way, it is impossible not to feel good. Playing trains or reading a storybook or watching “Sesame Street” together is a much more pleasant pass time than staring at our phones, reading all of the depressing news.
The little guy’s demeanor is cheerful, and that can be contagious. His innocence about the negativity in the current state of the world is like a beacon of light in the darkness, reminding us that the natural condition of the human spirit stems from love and hope, not from doom and gloom.
Our lives are all about keeping him happy and safe. Braving the grocery store, armed with disinfecting wipes, to shop for his favorite foods. Cleaning the packages properly before putting them away. Cooking healthy, delicious meals and snacks, despite shortages of some ingredients. Washing our hands; washing his hands. Going out in the backyard for some fresh air. Running in the wind. Seeing his delight at this freedom. Knowing that we need to be strong, to put on a happy face, for him. He wouldn’t understand it if we were upset all the time, not smiling back or giving him attention.
You don’t need to have a preschooler in your home to adopt this same nurturing attitude. Surely whoever you live with would appreciate a warm greeting, a freshly baked cookie, a game of chess, or an invitation to get together to watch an uplifting program, like a funny old sitcom.
If you have grandkids that you can FaceTime with, it will probably be the best part of your day. Spending time with a child who is oblivious to world health and economic problems is a nice respite.
Maybe the big-picture life lesson that we can learn during self-isolation is how to channel our inner child to cope with the emotional trauma of the pandemic. We can choose to spread joy, not anger and fear. We can choose to live in the moment. We can choose to be kind and sharing and compassionate to others. We can choose to be grateful for what we have, and who we have in our lives. We can enjoy the little things. We can view the future with optimism.
In the midst of this terrible time of sudden change and insecurity, when a little hand takes mine, and I am led over to the green plastic table by a wee boy who wants to color together, it seems that everything is alright in my world at that moment. And I feel thankful.
To quote a Beatles song, “All you need is love . . .”
Photo by: Janko Ferlič (Sweden) @itfeelslikefilm
Lynn Rhodes Campbell is a freelance writer, based in the friendly village of Sunderland, Ontario. For the past nine years, she has written feature articles for Focus on Scugog magazine. She started out her career as a newspaper reporter after studying journalism at Ryerson University. Previously, she worked as the writer/photographer/news editor of the Uxbridge Times-Journal, wrote high-profile columns for the Toronto Sunday Sun. Lynn’s comic novel, entitled Journal of a House Sale: Buy My House Please! was self-published in 2012. Despite other career pursuits over the years, she has always enjoyed writing fiction and poetry in her spare time.