My daughter is home from Europe. That may not seem like a big deal to some, but for our family, it is cause for celebration, especially with all that she has experienced in the past month. The problem is that we can’t celebrate, at least not in the hug-her-tight, whoop-it-up kind way that we are used to. Why? Because she has been living in a country where COVID-19 is very much a reality…where people were dying at a ridiculous rate…where businesses were shut down…where food was flying off the shelves in stores…where the streets were empty and people were holing up in their homes because they were mandated to…where masks and gloves were the order of the day. We’re just beginning to get a taste of that here, as our schools shut down and businesses are beginning to close their doors for a period of time. According to her, we have no idea what we’re in for.
What we understood and experienced is that, as borders closed around Europe and international travel was being banned in countries surrounding her, we were praying that her flight would not be cancelled…that she would not be stranded in a foreign country…and if she was, that she would have access to the necessities in life. Because the reality is that we weren’t guaranteed that any of these things would happen.
Fortunately for us, she made it home in all her masked and gloved glory. Her arrival into Winnipeg was a very strange experience, however, as this is the first time in my life that I cannot hug my child after an extended absence…that I cannot curl up with her on the couch discussing all that she has experienced while overseas. I cannot sit with her at the dinner table for a meal. I cannot share anything with her, as she keeps herself well-distanced with her mask and gloves on her little frame every minute of the day, sanitizing evry space that she comes in contact with.
When my daughter listens to people from her hometown talk about what is happening with the Coronavirus and their often-laissez-faire attitudes, she tells them that they have absolutely no clue about the destruction that this virus can cause. To some, a mask and gloves may be overzealous, wiping down every space with disinfectant may be over the top, and washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds may seem excessive. And self-distancing or self-isolation? Please! But to the most vulnerable, this can save a life. Having lived it, she gets it. Here in Canada, we’re just catching up.
So, rather than complain about the inconvenience that a school shutdown or forced isolation may cause, figure out a way to make it work and recognize that the role you play in taking precautions will go a long way to stopping the spread of this virus.
From a person’s perspective who has much more experience than I do with this, here are some of my daughter’s suggestions.
- Tone it down on the purchase of toilet paper. No family should have to go on a scavenger hunt for toilet paper because another family has chosen to stock up with enough rolls to accommodate a family of five for three years. This might also go a long way to bringing down the anxiety level for people, because nothing shouts stress more than empty shelves at a grocery store. Be reasonable with your purchases.
- If you are separated from family members because of a quarantine or an imposed self-isolation, reach out to them through Skype or Facetime. You may not have that physical contact, but a laugh is still a laugh, wherever and however it happens.
- Write letters to people that you haven’t contacted in ages. They will be thrilled to receive something other than a bill or a flyer in the mailbox. And if you don’t like to write, go back to point 2. That said, if you have been in contact with somebody with Covid-19, continue with point 2.
- For those of you who aren’t required to wear a mask and gloves throughout the day, breathe! Play cards with your family, work on that model airplane that has been collecting dust in your closet for the last decade, clean out those closets that have been housing things like a decade-old model airplane, draw, read, dance like nobody’s watching, build a fort (and yes, adults can do this), sing (and in our case, it is best if nobody is listening!), reorganize your bedroom, take walks when the coast is clear in your backyard, workout, cook together…just bond and be together.
- Be smart about the contact that you have with the people in your life. Wear the mask, put on the gloves, wipe down the spaces that you touch. Excessive? Not to the people most at risk, and all it takes is one person who hasn’t taken the necessary precautions to cause absolute devastation to a family with somebody who is vulnerable to this virus. So, use your heads!
- Crazy thought, but the more care that you take now to eradicate this virus, the better that life will be and the sooner we can go back to normal.
My daughter is practical…and as somebody who has lived in chaos for a while now, she understands the impact that COVID-19 can have on a society. So, wear the mask, put on the gloves, use the disinfectant soap and sanitizer, refrain from bodily contact with the people you come in contact with…and then laugh at how ridiculous you look, with the knowledge that you are playing your part in helping make life healthier for everybody. And the upside is that we get to bond with those that we love…even from a distance.
Now, I’m off to FaceTime with my child.