Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Pandemic Parenting

We came, We coughed, We conquered

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

I suppose actually having COVID has created this public service announcer vibe in my brain, so bear with me. Or not. If you’ve already felt your nose flare or your back bow up, just go ahead and hit the ‘x’ in the corner.

I won’t be upset (I promise) and I’ll never know and, also, it is so much stinking healthier than getting wound up over something you’re reading on this series of magical tubes and wires.

But, since you’ve stayed…yes, I do feel a tiny bit like marching around with a “Covinformation Here” arrow pointed to my accomplished face.

Yes, Covid was delivered, with a beautiful red and green bow, to our home during the holiday season. It took a bit of time to discover the source of the ailment and our assumption is that it was the omicron menu option, though the lingering sniffer issues may say otherwise. Of course, we’ll never really know the specific strain, that is only for the eyes of the Virginia Department of Health. Each of our four members had it (basically) back to back to back to back. As the head nurse, I can’t tell you how annoying that is. Just as we seemed to be exiting the woods, BAM!, we had another man down. No, actually, I really can’t tell you. If at all possible, I let my husband handle all illness related items. It sounds crazy to the other moms, but when arriving into his life, I was very clear with my husband that I would not be handling anything blood or vomit related. Forever.

Ladies, get that written into your vows, you won’t be sorry.

As a mom, my body has programmed itself to remain above any sharable illnesses until the rest of the house has been cleared back to life. That is not fair to the husbands and, especially, not fair to mine who takes the brunt of the sickbay load. But, as his body does not have this programing, he took third place in our Tour de Cough. I came in last. This was tricky as my husband not only had Covid, but he had Covid while still being male. And then I had Covid while he was still male. By then, however, the kids were well enough to pitch in with my load while he continued joyously eating the endless vats of delicious soups delivered by friends.

What to expect when you’re expecting? First, it is coming. This year’s Covid model is delivering as if it was assigned specifically to instill those magical ENDemic words, “herd immunity.” This is good. Those of us who opted for the needle are experiencing a dumbed down version and those who did not will still get their antibodies headed out of pandemic puberty. With any luck, future variants will continue to come with less pomp and circumstance and this whole shenanigan will slip into the file marked “flu-like-illnesses” before too much longer.

What else to expect when you’re expecting? Physically? The longest cold in history. For those tracking demographics, I’m an active fifty year old female and am thrice jabbed and recognize that I can only speak for my own experience. I started with a sore throat and a very dramatic sneeze and, as with each sneeze produced over the last twenty months, I panicked. Allergies? A cold? Weather change? Covid? COVID???? I mean, no, not really. I knew it was covid. We’d been assured by our doctor that, with our first positive familial test, we would all have it within weeks and to stock up on all the Quils (day and night), tissues, and any preferred fluids (evidently, not Malbec). This was critical advice as our tiny town was overtaken by phlegm within a week and our local shelves were devoid of most of those items. My kids learned that Gatorade is actually available in powder form. I am still trying to track down the same in wine.

Within hours of that first, tell tale zing in the back of my throat, I had a fever and a headache. It was happening. While it would be fun to give you a minute by minute account, I’ll spare you. What I will say is that the under twenty set, in our home, zipped through this with only a few days of downtime (one of which was spent entirely in bed). My husband and I are still (two weeks later) trying to shake the symptoms. Yes, it is a heavy cold. Yes, I smell weird things. The top-rating for annoyance goes to the on again/off again feeling of recovery. One day, you just know that you have nailed it and the following you are back to congestion and exhaustion. I’m told this can last for weeks.

Bartender, pour me another.

Also, why is it that all I can smell is a bar from the eighties?

Overfilled ashtrays, stale cigarettes, burnt coffee…am I being punished for past sins? Throw in the smell of a stale, beer-stained carpet and I think I’ll pledge again.

What else to expect when you’re expecting? Mentally? Relief.

This has been the best Christmas present we could have ever (accidentally) picked for our children. I am reminded that, for them, a pandemic has highlighted nearly a quarter of their lives (or half, really, when you only tap into the years they can actually remember). They have lived with unintentional and high-level paranoia. They were quietly convinced that they would become unknowingly contagious and pass something deadly onto someone they loved. We have taken it for granted, this fear that they lived with for so long. We have given ourselves the impression that throwing a mask on their faces has been the scraped knee equivalent of a Hello Kitty bandaid.

The delivery of Covid to our four walls has lifted a haze that we didn’t even know they lived with.

We are not unhappy with the path of our last two years. We still believe that the great pause of 2020 was the right thing to do to protect the most people. We do not feel lied to or angry or tricked. We are supporters, still, of the vaccine. We feel like, despite all of the ugly noise, we took the path in exactly the right direction. In March of 2020, the idea that one of us would bring Covid into our home was terrifying. Truly. My husband is immunocompromised. This was something that likely would have landed him in the hospital two years ago. That was enough for us to follow the science and the guidance of those with actual experience in such things.

Did it still suck? Uh, yeah.

Today, we feel like we have finally conquered the unknown. We have come through to the other side and spent time swapping stories with others who traversed these less dangerous land minds of the pandemic battlefield. We did it. We have gotten permission to relax a little.

The talk in our house has finally shifted away from hand-washing and disinfectants and social distancing. We now talk about how we, as a family, should commemorate this moment. The winning vote so far is tiny tattoos. Yes, even for the teens. Just a little, comical cartoon virus permanently planted somewhere discreet.

There’s no telling if it will ever happen, of course.

But finally being able to focus on the other side of the pandemic has given us a much needed breath of fresh air. A small weight in our lives has been lifted, for my husband and I, and a rather large one for the kids.

We came, we sneezed, we conquered.


This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.