In which things have gotten real.

Hey everyone. It’s your friendly (virtual) neighborhood Pandemic Wellness Check. How’s it going?

We’re all okay. We are adjusting.

I am not generally a germophobe. I am one of those moms who wouldn’t necessarily make her toddler stop and wash her hands before reaching for a snack, I’d laugh about the kids getting all dirty and insist it was “good for their immune systems!” and at our house, the 5-second rule was more like a 45-second rule. And yet by late February, I was having a mini-freak out about the onset of Covid 19. I bought a couple of bottles of hand sanitizer and extra groceries, and then I hid them because I was a little worried that the rest of the family would laugh at me. I figured that we’d eventually eat through the food, anyway, and if we never got around to using the sanitizer, I could donate them, right? But it turns out that we’re using the hand sanitizer, after all.

Earlier this week, we had weekend plans. J and I would be at a local volleyball tournament while M and Cute W planned to travel to Boston for a soccer tournament. This was making me edgy. M and Cute W pointed out that soccer’s out in the open air. Tournament organizers were already telling teams that there’d be no pre- or post- game hand slapping. To me, it was starting to feel insufficient.

By Wednesday night, I was picking J up from her volleyball practice and I was having difficulty restraining myself. “The NBA has cancelled the rest of their season. And yet it’s considered crucial that my 15-year-old play volleyball with hundreds of other players in a poorly-ventilated gym with a bunch of kids and parents and grandparents in the stands!?!?” I huffed. J was ready for me to chill out. “It’s not that many people, mom,” she said. She did not use the English language to add “Moms are so unbelievably lame,” but it was evident through her posture and her facial expression and her tone of voice.

And then it all changed yesterday, Thursday. First, word came through that the volleyball tournament was cancelled. Then the soccer tournament. Then both girls’ teams practices were cancelled. Suddenly our busy schedule is wide open. At work, we’re rearranging things. When you’re called KidsOutAndAbout and suddenly getting “out and about” isn’t necessarily the best call, adjustments must be made.

Yesterday was tough for the girls. They love their sports, and they were sad to have those plans scuttled. M in particular has friends who’ve been sent home from college and friends who expected they’d have a chance to visit colleges before making a final decision for next year. As tired of high school as M is, she doesn’t want to miss all the fun and traditions of second semester senior year. They’re both skeptical that online teaching will work.

At home together last night, we talked about all of the changes and the uncertainty. We talked about our travel plans for spring break and decided to cancel them and perhaps try something a little less ambitious. Everyone’s feeling a little sad.

And as I was writing this, we got notice that school is closed all next week. Which is the right call, I think. But the district also mentioned “the potential for an even more prolonged period without school.” The uncertainty is tough. But everything is so much worse for kids who depend on school breakfasts and lunches and people whose jobs are threatened and so many people who are physically vulnerable.

It is profound good fortune for us that, at the moment, the biggest bummers are that the sports seasons are getting shortened and our vacation plans have been scrapped. So we’ll do our best to appreciate our family time together. And the fact that we’re stocked up on hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

Wishing you all good health. And patience. And as much serenity as you can muster.


  1. Claire

    Yesterday was definitely surreal. Things were literally changing by the hour. My family has taken and will take a few hits from the situation, but you’re so right that there are many others who have it far, far worse. Like you, I have never been a germaphobe in my career as a mother. My son dashed any chances of that when, at 18 months old,he squatted down and kissed the storm drain at The Crossings! At that point I realized that being a germaphobe was out of my control. I don’t even have people take off their shoes when they come into my house (unless they’re wet) because I don’t have an entry and can’t stand to see piles of shoes all over my livingroom (which is right by the front door), and my son is in and out so much I can’t bear to make him take his shoes on and off each time. I’m hoping all that exposure to dirt through the years will have strengthened his immune system to resist the current virus de jour.

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