This time of year I usually try to form coherent sentences through tears as I type out all the reasons why I love Claire, and Down syndrome, and get everyone ready to wear silly socks. This year, I am trying to form coherent sentences as I sit in Day 4 of “social distancing” due to a global pandemic called the Coronavirus.
How does one even explain what is going on right now? Just two weeks ago I remember telling our nannies that everyone was likely overreacting and that I was irritated no one took the flu so seriously. As a mother of one immunocompromised child, it’s a touchy subject over how people have no regard for basic hygiene.
But… WOW. 2020 will be one for the history books. I’m going to try to blog every 1-2 days so I can remember this time, but I’m also doing a daily video journal over on Instagram. I want our kids to have their own visual piece of history.
In about 30 minutes we are loading our kids into our car to go pick up school supplies and belongings for the three boys, with the realization that we likely won’t be sending our kids back to school until August. The pain I feel over the kids not being able to say goodbye to their friends and teachers in person is absolutely gut wrenching. Their teachers have been sending videos to the kids via Seesaw and the empty classrooms just look so wrong.
Sunday night the governor issued a proclamation that every school in the entire state of North Dakota would be out of school for one week. Children are silent carriers of the virus, and while most don’t show any symptoms they can continue to infect one another and then bring the virus back to their own families and those most vulnerable. Immunocompromised children, like Claire, are at greater risk of getting it and they do show the symptoms.
We aren’t supposed to be in groups greater than 10. This virus is extremely contagious and although most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment, it can be deadly to those most vulnerable. No unnecessary travel, no socializing with friends or vulnerable family members… If able to, people should work from home. Almost all restaurants have gone to drive through or curbside pickup only. Unfortunately, as of today (March 19th), bars are still open and people are still drinking and being completely irresponsible.
What else has happened? So much. Schools almost everywhere across the country are closed. Some for the rest of the school year. Graduation ceremonies and wedding receptions are being canceled. Grocery store shelves are sparse, and most places are putting a limit on the amount of meat, eggs, and milk one can purchase. Movie theaters are closed. Gyms are closed. Malls, retail stores, small businesses are closed. The NCAA canceled every major sporting event including March Madness. All spring sports have been canceled before they even started. The NBA and NHL both abruptly stopped. Spring training for baseball has been canceled. Concerts and tours have been canceled. European soccer has been postponed. Life is NUTS. Not just in America.
I cannot explain what this feels like. Isolation, sadness, terror.
My own personal family is feeling the effects of this nightmare even deeper as Adam is a doctor. Not on the frontline, but it is so nerve-wracking saying goodbye to him every day. He comes home and immediately puts his scrubs in the washer. Good friends of ours work as ER physicians and nurses and I think about them constantly.
One day things will be normal again. But it will take a very long time. I look at the playground in our neighbor’s backyard and simultaneously smile knowing there will be children on it again soon, yet sigh as I realize we will probably have to take turns and wipe the equipment off with sanitizing wipes before letting other families on it.
I can’t wait to hug my friends again, or watch the kids run into their school and shout to their friends. One day. Hopefully soon.