Groundhog day, Passover, and breaking up the monotony of lockdown

This week, a big theme in my classes and consultations has been “Groundhog Day.” Most folks are on their third or fourth week of isolation. The novelty has worn off, and the honeymoon is over. Days are beginning to melt into one another, and nerves are starting to fray.

It’s no wonder our kids might be having big feelingsregressing, and acting out. The emotional impact of this uncertain time is going to look different for everyone, kids and adults alike. And even though we might be feeling lost in the apparent sameness of our predicament, for our children, it can be helpful to remind them that we’re aware of just how different things are from the way they used to be. In moments of big emotion, we can simply acknowledge that fact. Later, we can wonder together what everyone misses most, and perhaps even make space for things we appreciate right now. 

In my last post, I said we were finding our rhythm, but when rhythm becomes too predictable, it becomes monotonous. What punctuates your rhythm? How can you find some syncopation to break up the sameness? For me, at least this week, it’s been the celebration of Passover, an annual tradition in my family and community, now turned topsy turvy, yet somehow brought together nearly seamlessly via Zoom, hard work, and no small amount of showmanship. What do I miss most? Singing together – it turns out that this is impossible via videoconferencing. What do I appreciate? The generosity of friends and neighbors in helping me assemble a mostly complete seder plate of my own, for the first time, smelling and tasting the ceremonial foods and being transported into the instantly familiar place of culture and memory. 

At the end of each Passover seder, my family offers a wish that we continue to be blessed so we may celebrate the festival again next year, and that all humanity may be free alongside us to celebrate as well. I sincerely hope that our liberation from the bondage of this plague comes much sooner than next year. And in the meantime, I hope that the springtime and its festivals, whichever you celebrate, bring some much-needed interruption to your regularly scheduled pandemic pattern.


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Rebekka Helford is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Los Angeles, California. With over a decade of experience working with parents and young children, Rebekka specializes in short-term intensive parenting consultation, using a variety of tools including home, office, and school visits to help families navigate developmental hiccups and get back on track.

Click here to schedule an appointment or contact Rebekka with a question – who knows, she might even answer it in her next post!


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