Mom's 'Bucket List' Jar Offers Hope Amid Social Distancing

"That’s what this is all about ― collecting all of those precious things we take for granted," said Katie Eborall.

A U.K. mom’s child-friendly take on a “bucket list” is inspiring others to foster a sense of hope and optimism in this difficult time.

Katie Eborall and her family are on lockdown at home in Leeds, England, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wanting to turn a negative situation into something positive, she decided last week to create a fun activity for her husband, Kevin, and their two children, 4-year-old Max and 2-year-old Evie.

On March 24, Eborall shared the activity on her Facebook page.

“Every time we wish we could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, visit a new place, invite people to visit us, we’re going to write it down on a post it note and put it in a jar,” she wrote. “When all this is over this will be our bucket list and we’ll work our way through the jar and be more grateful than ever for the little and lovely things in our lives. Until then we’ll enjoy watching the jar fill up with magical things to look forward to.”

Eborall told HuffPost she decided to share her idea for a bucket-list jar because she’s friends with many other parents with young children and has benefited from their posts about activities for kids during this time of social distancing.

“I was of the mindset that if it helps just one person the way it’s helped us, then that’s fantastic,” she explained.

Her wish certainly came true. Eborall’s post has been shared over 135,000 times as of April 2.

“I’m absolutely humbled and overwhelmed by the response,” she told HuffPost. “I genuinely never thought it would reach so many people, and I’ve been bowled over by the lovely comments, people sharing their stories and thanking me. It’s really special to know that an idea that I just had one day in my kitchen has resonated with so many people and potentially helped families and communities all around the world. I’m proud to have created something that has spread some positivity.”

Eborall estimates that by now her family’s jar has between 30 and 40 bucket-list items. She’s also started a blog to document their growing bucket list and, eventually, their progress in ticking off the items.

“I want it to be something my children can look back on and know they were a part of and that the whole idea was only inspired because of them,” Eborall explained. “So in an indirect way, it was because of them that so many people around the world benefited from this.”

As time has passed, Eborall said her family has found that some aspects of their lockdown life get easier while others have become more challenging.

“We’re getting better at balancing work and childcare, we have plenty of supplies, and we are very lucky to have a garden and plenty of activities to keep us going,” she said. “The thing we miss most by far is people ― my parents, my in-laws, brothers and sisters, friends, the kids’ friends.”

Her children are a bit young to understand what’s happening, but they know their interactions with others are now limited to video calls. Eborall said they ask about their loved ones every day, and two of their newest wishes are for sleepovers with their grandparents.

“We’re just a normal family like any other, and I wouldn’t say I am the world’s most positive person ― I’ve certainly had my down days and struggled with the concept of lockdown and the fear that goes with it,” she noted. “But I’m a mum, and I have to find a positive to make sure my babies get through this OK.”

Ultimately, Eborall wants people who see her Facebook post and try the jar activity to come away with a sense of hope.

“It’s all we really have right now ― hope that our loved ones will all be OK, hope that we will survive this, and hope that one day we can see the people we love and do the things we love,” she said. “That’s what this is all about ― collecting all of those precious things we take for granted and when we come to taking them back out of the jar, they will mean so much more to us.”


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