“‘Mommy, I want to go to a restaurant,’ my daughter interjected after overhearing my husband and I talk about how some of our favorite eateries may not make it during the pandemic.
‘Soon, baby, soon,’ I responded half-heartedly.
Lately we’ve been hearing a lot of ‘I miss my friends, ‘I want to go to school,’ ‘Why can’t we go to the park?’ ‘Let’s get some groceries.’ Each time, my answer is the same.
The truth is, I have no idea how soon we will be able to step out into the real world. A few days ago, the kids and I sat in the car and went out for a drive. We hadn’t been outside of our immediate neighborhood for over eight weeks. Everything looked normal. There was no post-apocalyptic gloom hanging in the air. Life seemed to be moving on as per usual. What was I expecting? I felt almost, dare I say it, disappointed?
I realized then, as selfish as it sounds, that I was looking for some sort of sign to validate my feelings of anxiety. The kind that keep me up at night. How could I experience so much stress in a world that looked so… ordinary?
Ever since my daughter was diagnosed with asthma and subsequently hospitalized for bilateral pneumonia, my concerns for her health have manifested themselves into severe anxiety.
This pandemic has only made that worse.
One sneeze, a sniffle, a tiny cough will send me into a frenzy of worry. I am over cautious on our daily permitted walks and almost too quick to distance her from anyone approaching us, even if they are at a safe distance. I find myself going into her room at odd hours of the night just to make sure her breathing is steady. There are times when I wake up trembling from dreams of her in the hospital. The vision of her in the hospital bed attached to IVs, helpless and vulnerable will always haunt me.
Do I realize I am being irrational? Yes.
Does that make me less anxious? No.
My mind is constantly bombarded with intrusive thoughts that I have little control over. No parent wants to see their child in that state. So, while everyone celebrates phase one of reopening the world, I will hold on to my baby a little longer.
Don’t get me wrong, I miss our routine existence. I want to get out again and have the same degree of normalcy we once did. But I am not prepared for it, yet. I choose to give myself the grace to heal and conquer.
My daughter has no memory of that time. She has recovered. I have not. And until I am ready for her to return, I will keep her close and protect her like only this mama’s fierce heart can.”
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