From the Desk of Bekah Moilanen…

As I’m writing this post, my husband Scott is one room away reading a book to our 2 and 6 year old boys. The dishwasher is running, our four birds are chirping, three older kids are nearby working on online schooling and the dog keeps barking at people walking by our house out front. My desk is in the corner of our kitchen, the central hub of our social isolation lifestyle. I’ve tried to set up in quieter corners of the house with my laptop but have discovered that first, no quiet corners exist in our home and second, I am needed too often to shut myself away from my family for hours at a time. Five kids constantly need food, homework questions answered, physical touch of many kinds, fights broken up, and on and on. So most of my work hours are done with two little sidekicks nearby as I share the screen with them so that William can watch his school-assigned videos, so that he and Sam can snack with me and so that I can keep an eye on them and not have another mess to clean up when I finish my work! I am in a season of constant sound… noise?… intense volume maybe?… no, a season of complete cacophony. 

Before Covid-19, Scott and I had a long discussion about the “season” of life that we were in. Ever since I listened to a church service in which the pastor spoke about God meeting us in our seasons of life, I’ve tried to put the good and bad times that we’ve experienced into the perspective that, just like the seasons that we experience in our calendar year, I will experience things for a time that will ebb and flow. Some will seem too short (like Summer vacation as a child) and some will seem unending (like that last snowfall of the year when you’ve already celebrated warm air and seen buds on the trees). As a couple, we’ve gone through seasons of extreme joy, intense grief, loss, abundance, faith, fear and uncertainty. Scott and I went into January of 2020 looking at our season of life as a time of change. 

Our youngest child is no longer a baby. Four of our five kids are in school full time. We’ve traded hanging out with other young parents who have babies to approaching our 40’s and hanging out with other parents at our kids’ sports practices, ballet rehearsals, therapies and church activities. We’ve grieved a bit about the “moving on” process, the acceptance that our kids are becoming their own selves, that they need more independence each day and that they have lives that we don’t always understand. We’ve also laughed together at the realization that as Samuel grows and learns, he catches up to Will’s ability level and we essentially have twins on our hands, two boys who decided that it would be fun to go through the “terrible twos” at the same time. We jumped into 2020 in a season of just plain busy!

And then “it” hit. Coronavirus, Covid-19, whatever you want to call it. “It” has drastically affected our lives, as it has the lives of everyone that I know with no exception. Not all of my kids know what “it” is, what it’s called, or what it means. They just innately sense a new season. This season doesn’t seem to ebb and flow like the other ones in our lives have. It feels constant, stagnant and exhausting. It is a season of ultimate routine even though it feels so disjointed and out of sorts. It is a season of big emotions erupting from little people who feel things as strongly as we do but who don’t have the words to express them or the capacity to know why they can’t go to school or see loved ones. This is a very difficult season.

But in the midst of it, there is beauty, just like the sun peeking out behind the clouds during a winter that has lasted too long. This constant togetherness has given me time with each of my older kids to go on walks, bake, build forts, plant flowers, and other things that leave space for them to talk and for me to get to know them in new and intimate ways. I’m learning to appreciate each of my kids individually and see them in a different light, something that isn’t possible while carting them to and from school and sports. In January, I was worried about having enough time in my schedule to spend with Sam and now I’ve been with him every hour that he is awake. He is learning and growing and I don’t have to miss any of it. 

What do I call this season? What do we as a community, a nation, a world call this season? I don’t pretend that this season is one that I am enjoying. The constant sound and need for physical touch from everyone in my home (including the dog!) feels like complete sensory overload for me some days. The tears I cry after every online church service that I attend, mostly because I can feel deep down in my soul the longing for our old life and the need for connection outside of my four walls, are getting old. But I know people who are now multiple months into complete isolation, people who are desperate for someone to talk to and for physical touch. Covid-19 has created the “Season of Extreme.” Whatever was a struggle before seems to be intensified, but whatever was beautiful seems more beautiful in the midst of the grief and loss that has touched all of us. What a strange and new season to be living through!

I will continue to give thanks that I can work from home, that I can be surrounded by this crazy bunch of people who bless me and exhaust me to my limits, and that I have a home to be quarantined to. And I will continue to pray for the strength to wait out this season that has no end in sight, for everyone in their own magnified “extremes” right now to find small moments of relief in each day, and that we are all stronger when this season finally ends. Blessings to each and all of you as you navigate this season, until we see one another in person again!

-Bekah Moilanen, MT-BC