Let’s face it, quarantine hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns. If you have young children, it’s been challenging finding opportunities to get out of the house and let them explore and interact with others. If you have school-age children, it has been hard to juggle the demands of teacher, employee and Mommy. And if you have teenagers, it has been heartbreaking saying no to the normal freedoms and activities that they are used to and reminding them to do uncool things, like wearing a mask.
But being a daughter… that’s a whole other kind of challenge right now.
Trying to keep my parents safe has been the biggest juggling act I’ve had to perform since the days of diaper explosions and car seats. Due to their health, we have been very mindful of wearing masks while together and keeping a safe distance. But, this is crushing them. They long for the days of hugging and snuggling their grandbabies and getting up close in each other’s faces, the way children do with their loved ones. Every time we talk on the phone, they wonder when they will get to see their grandchildren. “It’s just not safe,” I tell them. “We want you around for the long haul.”
Have you ever felt like the worst person in the world when you are trying your hardest to “do the right thing?” Because I have. A million times over. Maybe I’m selfish to want my parents around past 2021. Maybe I’m selfish to keep their grandchildren away from them. But the way I see it is that it’s short-term pain for long-term gain. I would never forgive myself if they got sick and it was our fault. While they are both fighters, they both have pre-existing conditions that would likely cause either a major change in their life or them to become a COVID statistic. And I am too protective of them to let that happen.
Because my husband and I go out for work each day, our children are in school full-time (unless the schools decide otherwise), as well as extended care. We are all with teachers, co-workers, and classmates. There are times when we cannot keep a safe distance due to circumstances beyond our control. While I try my best not to think about what the kids might be “bringing home” with them, I’m also not oblivious to the possibility.
Like many kids, mine hate washing their hands and love picking their noses. So even though I kindly remind them to keep their germs to themselves, the notion is lost on them. The good news is that we all (my parents, my kids and I) look forward to and talk about the days when we will be “back to normal” again. But, until then, the protector in me will continue to look after those that I love and make the best choice for our circumstances.