It started out as a normal morning at the office. I spent 90 minutes discussing all things COVID in the pediatric healthcare environment. I celebrated the installation of new lactation pods for our breastfeeding moms. I coached and collaborated with an amazing leader during our weekly one-on-one meeting. I had 20 minutes to eat a quick grab-and-go sandwich from the cafeteria, scroll the news headlines and take a breather.
At 12:54 p.m., my cell phone rings, and my daughter’s school displays on the caller ID. My heartbeat revved up as I answered with a quiet and insecure “hello.” The principal introduced herself in the same quiet and insecure tone. I knew it was not good news. She proceeded to tell me that my daughter’s classmate tested positive for COVID and that my daughter had to leave school and quarantine according to the school’s policy.
I packed up my laptop and planner, threw away my half-eaten sandwich, told my office suite the news, and headed to my daughter’s school. I felt panicked about how to minimize the risk of the unknown spread within the walls of our home. How do I protect my husband and my step-sons from something that we don’t know if it exists? I felt sad for my daughter and her dad because it was their night to reunite after being with me for the second half of winter break. What flexibility can I offer? I felt scared because my daughter and I had lots of cuddle time last night. Do I have COVID now?
I pulled up to the school and the security guard escorted my daughter from the building. I hopped out of the car and walked towards her. Her steps were short. Her hands were full of books. Her eyes were sad. I knew she was doing her best to hold it together.
We got in the car, buckled up and the hysterical crying began. My daughter’s 10-year old world had been turned upside down in a matter of minutes because of a COVID positive classmate.
Her justice mind was confused. Why her? She had been responsible. She wears her mask and washes her hands. Why her table group? She felt discouraged that it was her table and not another table. It simply wasn’t fair.
Her care for others was hindered. One of her new year’s resolutions was to not get COVID and keep my family safe. Now, she might have it. She talked about the guilt that she would have if she got any of her family members sick not knowing that she might have it. She put a lot of pressure on herself.
Her heart was broken. She loves her friends and loves school. She was excited to return to school and eager to learn. The required quarantine gave her anxiety and sadness. Her time with her dad was postponed. Her routine in her home was changed to quarantine from her step-brothers. She was so sad.
We arrived home and our mother-daughter quarantine began. It was a stressful and exhausting period that was necessary to prevent the potential spread in our home. We were blessed to test negative and return to normal life as a family of six.
As moms and adults, we can process our emotions and thoughts rationally because our brains are fully developed. Hearing the pain, the pressure, the uncertainty, and the concern that my 10-year old daughter felt shocked me to the core.
Moms, make sure to listen to your kiddos during this crazy period and help them work through the emotions and rationale for the rules, the precautions, and the uncertainty. They need us!