"Are you going to be okay, mom?"
These were the words all three of my kids repeatedly questioned as I spent several days isolated in the ICU 1300 miles away from them.
In early June, I unexpectedly found myself hooked up to various monitors to stabilize my vitals while a blood clot near my heart put my health in jeopardy. My 23-year-old knew of my unstable medical situation, while my teens only had bits and pieces of what had occurred.
Of course, I did what most parents tend to do out of habit whenever they can avoid sending their children into panic mode. I spouted off a few, little white lies about being okay only to put their minds more at ease. Maybe on some level, it was wrong to keep them entirely in the dark, but I felt it was best not to overwhelm them with more concerns than they were already dealing with.
So why was I thousands of miles from all of my kids during a phase where our world was thrown into chaos?
Two months before my hospitalization, I had accepted a job offer in my hometown just weeks leading up to the global pandemic. All of the arrangements to relocate had taken effect, leaving only the details of when my kids could join me.
Their Dad and I agreed until school ended, our boys would stay with him full-time. Once summer break arrives, we'd be reunited for the first time since April and figure out the logistics of their education just like every other parent is currently doing.
However, things did not go as planned, and for once, I am thankful for that occurrence.
The weekend my 15 and 16-year-old were to arrive in Texas just happened to be when I received the unsettling news I tested positive for the coronavirus. Instead of a joyous family reunion, I spent all of my energy overcoming each medical obstacle COVID-19 inflicted upon me.
During my recovery period, I mentally struggled with the notion of having my boys traveling across the United States to be with me.
I know firsthand what this virus can do to your body. It's not something I'd ever want to relive and hope that I never have to either. Chancing my kids driving through several states and enter a high-risk environment is too much of a gamble with their health. As much as I dreaded having to make the difficult decision to momentarily forgo being with my children, their well-being is always a #1 priority.
Because I have a great co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband, we heartily agreed on approaching our boys in a way they could understand under normal circumstances; travel would not have even been an issue.
The conversation was, by far, one of the hardest things I had to endure as a parent, but my feelings pale in comparison to what my kids must be going through at the moment.
I'll be the first to tell you that parenting was challenging enough before COVID. At least I know I'm not struggling through uncharted waters alone. We all want to help our children thrive in these all too unfamiliar conditions that even have our parents and grandparents baffled to what sound advice they could offer us.
During a monumental epidemic, it's essential to focus on every positive instance in a world where there doesn't seem to be too many happening around us. There are no right or wrongs when trying your best to be a parent during these trying times. There's only, "I did my best today, and I'll continue to do my best tomorrow for my kids."