If there is any silver-lining that I've found during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the time I've been able to spend with my wife and children. Before the whole world shut down, I had plans to travel to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Peru and even Italy. Along with other work events I would have been gone from home for almost 2 months and those trips would have begun 6 weeks after the birth of my son.
While those trips were good and meant to share the Gospel, further the Kingdom, help me and other grow in faith, my primary responsibilities as a husband and father are to my family. Even if I was serving the poor for the entire summer I would have been neglecting my duties to my wife and kids and missing out on crucial time spent with them. There is a chance more harm may have been done than good.
Quarantine with 2 kids under 2 is always butterflies and rainbows, though. During the last few months our daughter has decided to embrace wholeheartedly the term, "terrible 2's." It is incredible the volume and duration of temper tantrums that can come out of something so small. Add in our son who is just over 2 months at the time of writing this and now the crying, dirty diapers, sleepless nights and early mornings have multiplied exponentially. Children can show you just how far the human spirit can be stretched.
Sometimes I just want to sleep in past 5:30am. Sometimes I just want to go to the bathroom by myself. Sometimes I wish you wouldn't scream in your brothers ear or kick him in the head while I am trying to feed him!
All that being said, the Lord did remind me the other day on why I wanted to be a father in the first place. I opened the Bible up to a random page and it landed on John 17:6 - “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word." This is Jesus giving thanks to His Father for His friends. After reading this, I just looked at my children (after a pretty rough day) and felt this overwhelming sense of gratification for them in my life. Thank you Father, for giving me these beautiful souls. Regardless of how frustrating life can be sometimes, they are a gift from You.
"Man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself" (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, 24). Through my children I can see the will of God. Through them I can learn more about my own relationship with my heavenly Father. Through them, my wife and I can walk along the path of sanctification. We have the extreme responsibility but also the privilege and pleasure to reveal Jesus Christ to them. That is the silver-lining not just for our time in quarantine, but for our entire journey as parents.