As moms, one of our biggest duties and jobs is to protect our children and keep them healthy. When they are infants, we ensure they are warm, fed, and bathed. We carefully lay them on their little tummies or their sides or backs or whatever current medical philosophy tells us is the safest sleeping position. We protect their heads and necks as we gently lift them and lie them back down. We check on them numerous times per night to make sure their little chest still rises.
When it’s time for them to learn to walk, we try our best to help our toddlers avoid falls and tumbles into hard objects or pointy corners. We put their tiny feet into tiny shoes to help stabilize them. We teach them to use a spoon and sit up in the bathtub. We take them to the doctor for check-ups and immunizations.
When they start school, we teach them to read and play games. We teach them how and when to dial 911. We help them build a strong tribe of friends and mentors to help protect their hearts, pride, grades, and motivations. As they continue to grow up, we face new challenges. We teach them to drive cars at harrowing speeds of 25-65 miles per hour with their seat belts securely fastened and to obey traffic and safety laws. We set curfews and make sure they wear the proper safety gear when they play organized sports.
Then one day, when you aren’t at all prepared, they head out into the world to become young adults and to face life on their own. It is up to these young adults now to look out for themselves and to keep safe. But you know what moms do? We STILL want to protect them. We still have that innate urge to make sure they are safe, healthy, and happy. We still worry. Even if we’ve prepared them to our fullest capabilities, we worry.
My kids are essential workers—both of them. While I sit at home in the safety and comfort of my home office, my boys are going to work each day facing and interacting with the public—a public where there is a growing number of COVID-19 positives citizens walking around. And there isn’t much I can do about it.
My oldest son works in a local bakery. The dining area is currently closed, but six days a week, he goes to work and works in close proximity to the other bakery workers baking hot lunches, pies, and other sweet treats with hope and faith that no one there is a virus carrier.
His hours aren’t what they used to be, and the clientele is dropping off with the stay at home orders now in place in Lubbock County. Yet, each day they all show up in hopes for more customers than the day before. In hopes they can keep their jobs, and the bakery opens one more week. One more day even. And also in hopes that none of their drive-thru window or curbside pick up customers are unknowing carriers of the Coronavirus. He is an essential worker who needs a paycheck, and so he keeps going to work as long as he still can.
My younger son works in a local grocery store. Each day he goes to work with a large number of co-workers and interacts with a very large amount of customers. These customers are sometimes cranky as the items they came for are missing from the shelves. These customers are not necessarily obeying social distancing etiquette, either. He touches everything they touch.
He is working a lot of overtime hours right now to keep up with the insane grocery store demands as people continue to hoard food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. In hopes the supply of groceries can somehow eventually catch up with the demands of the times. In hopes that his co-workers and his customers aren’t carriers of the virus. He is an essential worker who needs a paycheck, and so he keeps going to work.
What’s a worrywart mom to do?!! In this instance, I do everything I can to help make sure they are armed to be as safe as they can be. I offer extra Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer when I have it. I ask if they need gloves or fabric crafted masks from the local and incredibly kind seamstresses in town. I buy them EmergenC and daily vitamins to keep their immune systems strong. I check on them to make sure they feel well physically and mentally. And I worry. I sit in my safe little sterile work-from-home office, and I worry every stupid, corona filled day.
That’s what moms do. It doesn’t matter that they are now 28 and 26 years old. They were my wombmates for nine months! They’ve heard my heart from the inside! They are still my babies. And they have been my entire world for 28 and 26 years, respectively. I worry, and I do my best to protect them from afar, knowing full well that I’m not in control of this situation or of them. I trust that the habits and good sense I’ve instilled in them (and my gentle reminders to take the stupid vitamins) help to keep them safe and well.
They are essential workers, and they’ll go back to work tomorrow.