The Pieces Of Childhood Our Children Will Never Get Back

We are coming to the end of the second month of school closings. As we approach the months ahead I think it is important for us as parents to talk to our children about their feelings and their anxiety over missing out on special events. Many of these milestones are once in a lifetime events which some will never get a chance to make up. Many of our children have had to say goodbye to relationships, trips , visits to their favorite teacher’s rooms and some have seen their prom preparations go up in flames.

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In my own children I can see an uneasiness that I haven’t seen before. My 18 year old talked about going to college all the time before COVID-19 took place. We found out that our Alma mater is offering classes to high school sophomores and up for 90 dollars per credit. One of the classes is Introduction to Sociology and there are a couple of other classes. We were excited because this was something our daughter had been talking about for almost a year. When we presented her with the idea, she had a mini freak out session. She didn’t want to go to college online and it didn’t stop there. She continued to explain if she could not go to school inside the classroom,then she wouldn’t attend college at all.

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My first thought was to insist that she would be enrolled in one of the classes, but then I started thinking about something. Right now her entire life has been turned inside out. While we are talking about college classes, she is still getting used to doing her high school classes online. I think we were wrong to press the conversation at this point because it brings a sense of long term changes that these children are not ready to deal with. It’s one thing to tell our children you cannot go back for the rest of the school year, but it is something else to tell them that their college dreams have been placed on hold for who knows how long. At any rate, I’m trying to be more thoughtful about her feelings and her fears.

Right now there are a number of adults freaking out about not being able to go out and get perms, nail jobs, or have happy hour with their pals. I would ask them to look to the plight of the young person today. It is a unknown road with unspoken fears. While many of us talk about the things we miss, we are at least in a position to get those memories back. Some of our children will never get to embrace the very events that helped to shape our school year experiences. The key word for this week in understanding. Understand that our children are dealing with the same situation we find ourselves in, but they do not have our knowledge of recovery. Have a happy week and be strong.

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Texas Starts Reopening State Parks & Some Retail Stores With Certain Guidelines This Week.

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At the end of week we will mark a very telling move in our battle to stay COVID-19 free. For many of us, we have been monitoring our movements, and listening very closely to our government. This week in some ways, that will change. If ever there was a time when people turned their back on the government, I think you will see it happening this week with the COVID-19 situation.

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It’s simple for many of us, we are not engaging in risky behavior like mass gathering until we hear the CDC say it is ideal for the government to reopen. Our government has shown that they cannot be trusted to do the right thing in regards to following advice from the CDC. Take Texas for example, A three phase rule was put into place as a road map for reopening the states. Texas has not mastered the first rule which details a decline in COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days. Not only has Texas not mastered the first phase, but Texas hasn’t tested nearly enough people to claim any sort of success. If anything lawsuits have helped to bring us to where we are today.

It’s simple, some of us are not caving. In my city, we already have multiple businesses as essential. We have pawn shops, loan places, banks, restaurants (Drive Thru), gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, Best Buy (saw cars in parking lot), Target, Walmart’s, Sams, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Aldi open to the public. Our COVID-19 numbers keep going up which probably have something to do with the amount of things that never really closed down. The retail section of Governor Abbott’s move to reopen Texas does not bother me as much as the move to open state parks.

Social distancing was put in place to prevent large amounts of people from standing near each other in the stores, but nothing really mandated any of the organizations I named above to shut down. If anything, what the new retail policy will look like, will be more stores having to deliver, take togo orders, and utilize shipping opportunities. As of this date, our numbers continue to increase, so does the largest city in our county. We were the epicenter for a month or two. Now, the city outside of Fort Hood has taken on that title. Killeen which is the largest city in Bell County happens to be the feeder city to the Army base. There have been reports of soldiers coming down with the virus and once again the numbers in Killeen are rising everyday.

So, with new guidelines opening up more places, we will see some rises in COVID-19. There’s no telling how many people have COVID-19 in this state because we never really shut down. Churches stayed open for service, while schools shut down for the rest of the school year.

My fear is seeing something like we saw in Florida this past weekend. Our state parks are known for cookouts, swimming, fishing, and loads of recreational outlets. I do not see how park rangers will be able to monitor all parks and people congregating on hundreds of acres in various places. It’s like the drinking thing, you aren’t supposed to bring beer to the parks, yet people do it all the time. Are you telling me that the rangers will look at every park goer and monitor their face and enforce the mask, six feet apart, and limited 5 person per group order the entire duration of their stay? Parks are open for hours. How will the recreational lovers eat if they are participating in a cookout? That face mask will have to come off.

It just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. It will encourage more gathering and the chance to spread something that many people might not know they have. The weather here in Texas is very unpredictable, it could be 58 today and tomorrow the temperature could reach 80 degrees. So, it wouldn’t be uncommon for people to just pass something off as being a seasonal cough or sickness caused by the weather. I would feel so much better if we were not seeing rising numbers of COVID-19.

However, there is a glimmer of light for our county. While the number of people contracting COVID-19 continues to climb, the number of people cured also continues to climb in our area. We have more than enough hospital beds due to this area being surrounded by hospitals. I wish I could say the same for some of the other areas in Texas. I grew up in a small country town with only one store, and one Post Office. That is a recurring situation in many of the small towns in Texas. Some of these towns have hospitals that might be at least 15 to 20 minutes away in other cities.

So, once again, I hope we do not see a rise in cases. However, I do not see how we will miss a surge with more options for people to gather. While the cases are not overwhelming yet, it could change if people get careless. We need to know how many people in this state currently have COVID-19. It would help people monitor their movements a little more.

Seeing My Life Through A COVID-19 Lens

It’s almost 5 AM on this Monday morning. Normally, I would be trying to grab at least one more hour until the alarm clock buzzed me out of bed. The house is silent and the kids are fast asleep. They used the weekend to complete homework assignments due to them not having anything else to do. In two hours my husband will get up and log into his computer for the start of his work day. It is the new normal that so many of us are seeing right now.

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I’m wondering if I should make eggs for breakfast today, but I now have less than a dozen. The health professionals are telling us to watch our trips to the grocery stores because we are playing an alternate version of duck duck goose every time we walk out the door. So, the idea of eggs for today’s breakfast is slowly starting to fade away. Rice or oatmeal will be the winner for today’s breakfast which will more than likely be the winner for days to come.

Putting food rationing aside for a moment, I noticed something new about my husband. Perhaps it wasn’t new, it was just forgotten. Our cat had a kitten and we named her Penny. My husband is so gentle with Penny and loving. I forgot that side of him. He has a nurturing side that’s so alluring and comforting. When the girls were little, he was the same way with them. I love to see their interactions. He’s able to relate to them and laugh with them in ways that I cannot. I fear I lack a sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to crack a joke.

I’ve noticed that my girls are turning into young women. They are doing their homework and trying to be brave. There are days that they miss their friends terribly, but they keep in touch with them over social networking platforms. While I am scared just like many of you are, I am also thankful.

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Two years ago when I gave up my job to spend more time with my girls, I struggled with the decision. I couldn’t help but think back to the dying toddler that required my final permission after the parents gave theirs to be taken off life support. I couldn’t help but think about how they hunkered down in her room praying for a miracle. They moved all her favorite blankets and laid them upon her tiny little body perhaps thinking that in some small way, it would make her come back to them.

There was a lesson to be learned that night. The lesson was how we look at time and spending it with those we love. So many of us have been guilty of feeling prideful over items that can be replaced at any given point. I had this walnut European piece of furniture that I used to love. It was for a long time my pride and joy until one day a group of movers lost all the required pieces to place it back together.

This is a painting of the wall unit I lost many years ago. Yes, I actually painted a picture of it.

I remember feeling so sad after I had to trash the pieces of wood and say goodbye to those memories. However, it wasn’t the end of the world. There would be other pieces of furniture. As I started to process the death of the child, I often thought about the European piece of furniture. It was here today and gone tomorrow. It was nothing more than a cold, solid, storage space taking up room in my house. However, my children were warm, sweet, caring, living, loving, and deserving of so much more than the material junk I was trying to bring home to add value to our lives.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t worry about replaceable things. Value those lives that can never be replaced and focus on loving your loved ones harder than ever before. Hug longer, kiss harder, and let this be your defining moment. Months ago we were planning on finding our perfect eco-friendly house, and now we are just trying to stay safe and healthy. Life lessons keep coming. Have a great day.

Trying To Explain The Need For A Quarantine To Kids

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We have been under a shelter-in-place order for weeks now. Weeks feel like months for some reason. So when it rained today, I got really excited and so did the girls. Maybe the rain symbolized some degree of normalcy. The smell was familiar the feeling was comforting and then reality set in. The things we once found annoying were now the things that we missed the most.

The little quaint store I promised to take my youngest child to might not be there if we all make it through this ordeal. As I was thinking about all the little things I missed, my youngest child asked about going over to her friend’s house. She talked about how much she missed her and didn’t think it would be a big deal if she or her friend came to visit.

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So, I asked her if she understood who stood more of a chance of dying due to complications from the coronavirus. She was like old people are the ones who have to worry not me. She is 14 and the picture of healthy. I then pulled up this picture and asked if she recalled taking it.

Taken about 5 yrs ago.

She started laughing and said she remembered the picture and the blanket she got at the hospital. I then informed her that she was one of the people in the danger zone for COVID-19. Due to her frequent bronchitis attacks when she was younger, her lungs were weakened. I then explained that COVID-19 attacks the lungs and for people like her, that attack could be fatal.

Now some of you might think that being that direct with children causes a panic, but it actually explains the virus and the need to quarantine. While my 14 yr old is smart and her own person, she is still a child who needs my protection. If your children are starting to wear you down about seeing their friends because the shelter-in-place order is taking too long, tell them why it is taking long. We owe it to our children to protect them from danger and sometimes that danger might by themselves.