The Beginning of the End; The Beginning of the Worst

With the vaccine on the verge of release, just as we enter in midst of the heart of the pandemic, we’re in a funny spot right now.

On the one hand, a solution is almost here. Of course, there are many worries, like the numbers of people who say they won’t take the virus, and the logistics of unrolling the vaccine to a world’s population, but for the most part, this is all good news.

On the other hand, the virus is everywhere.

For months, I was relatively secure. Like so many privileged groups, myself, my family, and friends have been in protective bubbles. Mask compliance is 100% in my town. Adults have been able to work from home. Our jobs are secure with one stay at home parent to pick up the slack in schools. We have large backyards to hold gatherings safely. I haven’t met anyone who had the virus since the worst months this spring.

But over last weekend, things changed. Friends texted me to say that their 20-year old kids, or others in their orbit, tested positive. We started getting more and more emails from the school districts informing us about positive people in a school building. Schools here are opening and shutting more frequently. Ian is back in school, after a two week of remote education. Thank God. But it’s only a matter of time before he is locked in his bedroom with a Chromebook all day.

Rumor has it that the teachers and staff are bringing the virus into the schools, not the kids, but I have no evidence to back up those rumors. The emails from the district are purposively vague.

So, as the protective bubble around our professional community has been burst. I am making adjustments to our safety protocol for our household. Cutting out restaurants was an easy choice. Jonah is coming home from college next week, which is a concern; I need to find a local place for a rapid test. I am not sure if I should jog with a buddy outdoors without a mask. I am not sure if we should take Ian out of her in-person tutoring and therapy; it’s so important for his mental health. So, we have some tough decisions to make soon.

I don’t want to be the last person to get COVID. That would really suck.

I hate the term “COVID fatigue” to explain why folks let their guard slip and started visiting family and friends in person. “Fatigue” implies a certain laziness of the folks who are gathering and being less careful than the Virtuous Virus Puritans. Some folks have been suffering more than others during this pandemic. If you’ve lost your job, if your kids aren’t being educated, if your caretaking responsibilities are overwhelming, then being around family and friends is about the good thing in your life.

Our situation is comparatively awesome, but our kids have had a really tough time. Between his on-going health issues, the school chaos, and social isolation, Ian has suffered. A lot. Jonah just spent the past four months in a dorm room by himself. I am beyond worried about him. I am not “fatigued.” I am sick with worry, angry, and sad.

I’m going to keep our guard up and make some changes as the pandemic heats up this winter, but I have to be less than perfect than the Virtuous Virus Puritans would like, because I have to help my family keep their marbles. Safety definitely has its costs.