My family has responded appropriately to the rules handed down by our public health, civic officials and political leaders.
My partner and I have only one set of parents here who’ve been close to my children all their lives. Though we connect on Face Time and we have dinners together on Zoom, I know my parents miss their grandchildren and the kids miss them.
We’ve stopped briefly in their building’s parking lot and talked and waved from just outside the car door while my parents stayed on their apartment balcony.
But nothing replaces the hugs that have always been their gestures of comfort and love.
Yet even though COVID-19 response strategies are being discussed about what is, will be, or can’t yet be “opened up,” there’s still discomfort about what might happen.
If it doesn’t go well, we could be separated from loved ones even longer or worse, be given new, possibly stricter rules of separation.
I’m losing my ability to convince my kids that this’ll be over soon enough, that it won’t ruin their summer even if our previously-planned family driving trip can’t happen, that they will see their friends and be just as close buddies with them again.
What else can I do or say to help them, my parents, and my partner and me, to stay as positive as possible?
Needing a Positive Boost
Maybe the once-comforting platitudes such as “We’re all in this together,” have started to ring hollow.
Inside each of us, there’s a lonely ache that’s pushing an urge to scream instead, I can’t take this any longer!
However, fortunately, Yes, you can!
Because it’s the better alternative than running wild with everyone’s separate yearnings to rush to a park, eat on a restaurant patio, kick back at a neighbour’s barbeque, be free!
Until one of us gets a fever, coughs. Then another, and another until all the effort and self-discipline, all the caring for grandparents and thoughtful explaining to children, all the sanitizing grocery carts and wiping down packaging, and endless hand-wishing, and stepping away from the sidewalk while others approach… until all that feels wasted (though it wasn’t).
But we must not squander what we’ve been taught by our civic authorities to build: A concerted, scientifically-sound, societal resistance to a killer virus, the novel coronavirus, that has not yet run its course or been vanquished by the discovery and widespread acceptance of a vaccine that works.
So, the only sound choice is to carry on. Most grandparents would rather live to see their grandchildren’s healthy growth and accomplishments than trade risking the virus for hugs.
Most children, if helped to understand, age-appropriately, the changes in their life during this time, can adapt.
You and your partner have managed well so far under the current approach.
Battle fatigue is natural. The time to relax is after reaching vitally-needed evidence, through scientific, medical and public health studies of significantly reduced numbers of deaths and infection, that it’s safe to ease the rules for surviving this pandemic.
FEEDBACK Regarding teenage sisters who resent their divorced father’s/stepmother’s rules regarding the virus with the 16-year-old living recklessly (April 25):
Reader – “Some teens in Campbell River, B.C. have made a video for their peers called “Stay Home.”
“It’s specifically for teens and was made by some very bright teenagers who’ve done an excellent job. This is a complicated issue but the one that most needs to be addressed are the health concerns. A message from teens to other teens is most powerful.”
Reader #2 – “Perhaps a talk with the girls would help about the possibilities of what happens if their father or mother gets ill from the virus due to the older teen ignoring social distancing.
“A realistic talk with parents going over their wills and power of attorney, what happens when a parent is incapacitated and unable to make decisions, etc.
“Not a tough talk, but discuss where the information is, who the family lawyer is, etc., explaining that the possibilities are higher every time they go out.
“They have a need to know, that their behaviour is a big concern for these reasons of cause and effect.”
Ellie - A good idea so long as it’s not presented as a blame tactic which teenagers tend to resent. Many teens are doing very positive things in response to the pandemic. Feeling useful and appreciated by their peers is a powerful ego-boost which many of that age group need.
Tip of the day:
We’re “all together in this” because all lives matter.