To say this year is unprecedented goes without saying. But I never thought I would be parenting a child through not one but two separate mandatory quarantines. There aren’t words for all of the emotions that these quarantines have stirred up but the experience has changed me as a mother.
Quarantine #1…the early days
The first quarantine started with my fifteen year old being exposed to a classmate who is also a football teammate who tested positive. Contract tracing resulted in a phone call from the high school principal and a frantic hunt for laptops and groceries to get us through the time at home. I chose to keep my other two children at home as well and limited my activities drastically.
The first week went by with remote learning struggles to stay focused and sadness about the missed social interactions. We watched the football game Friday night with heavy hearts. I am grateful he isn’t a senior but it doesn’t make the loss of those nights any easier. Knowing that half of his high school years have been trampled by this pandemic becomes more unimaginable with each passing day.
The second week started off with sibling irritability, battles to finish assignments, and missing the social interactions that school provides. The symptoms he developed settled his mind a bit as to why he was at home. But once the symptoms resolved it made the sting of not being on a football sideline that much worse. The two weeks ended with much relief from all three of my children and life slowly went back to the typical day to day pace.
With our district opting for virtual learning on Mondays the kids were back to their usual Monday schedule. Hayden, my eldest, headed off to football practice that afternoon. He announced that evening that more testing was taking place. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a little pit in my stomach. The evening ended and as we all went to bed Hayden said I am worried. And so was I.
Hayden had texted me right after lunch on Tuesday which is unusual for him to do. He mentioned the principal had been inquiring as to who sat with the classmate Hayden said had gone for testing. The student was also absent that day. My heart went to my stomach. It couldn’t happen again, it just couldn’t. He had mentioned being able to play Varsity football Friday night and this couldn’t be happening again.
The Phone Call…
And as the phone rang and the caller ID displayed the high school phone number I became physically ill. The principal conveyed the information and couldn’t have apologized anymore. It was 2:00 and I needed to pick him up as soon as possible. My thoughts went from what was I going to do to pacify this devastated teenager to what do I do with the other two kids. Do we all stay home again? Once again the other children and I could go about our days with no changes but was that the right thing to do?
His tears met my tears as I met him at the door of the school. Just wanting to go to school and play ball were his words that I didn’t have a reply for. We as a family know firsthand that this virus kills, but that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow. How many times are we going to have to go through this? I hate being selfish for my child’s school life at the expense of the lives lost.
Quarantine #2…Week #1…
The week started like a de ja vu. It was like we had done this before probably because we had. This week had a little different spin because Hayden’s two younger siblings returned to the classroom. This gave us all a little room to breath. And it gave me some evening time with Hayden after the other two had gone to bed. It’s setting in that in just two short years he will be out of high school and time is so very precious. These times might be inconvenient and trying but there is something to be gleaned from them. Slow down and look around a little. Enjoy the simple things and give that one extra hug or minute of time. And as a momma of three, please wear your mask and wash your hands for the sake of my children and yours. And let’s hope we make it through the second week.