Our family is leaving a movie theater when we find out. My kids run ahead while my husband casually checks his phone. He pulls me aside. In a quiet and serious voice, he informs me that the first United States citizens have died of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
In a hospital 20 minutes up the road.
Immediately I grab my young kids—one is reaching for a coin-operated game, one is touching a trash can (because, of course)—and pour sanitizer into their hands.
All the way home, I worry about what’s next.
Do we rush to the grocery store? Will I take them to school on Monday? Will everyone go back to work?
What happens now?
Parents across the US are thinking the same things. Will this become a global pandemic? What will that look like locally? When will the next case hit? Should I travel or make plans?
How will I protect my children, whatever happens?
The parents in our community are asking the same questions. Only this devastating situation is hitting way too close to home. It may not be long before more precautions are taken here—or near where you live. There will likely be many more cases and even more deaths.
What are we doing about it?
Honestly, we are moving forward as usual until someone tells us otherwise.
We’re taking our kids to school. The COVID-19 Coronavirus seems to be, thankfully, affecting children much less than adults. The school parking lots were full this morning, buses were running, hallways were just as bustling as ever. Conversations are happening, and I’m sure some kids were absent. But we’re carrying on, as much as possible, until further notice.
We’re talking to our families about what’s going on. I’m warning my kids that there is a sickness going around. I’m reminding them to keep washing their hands, not to share food, and not to put anything in their mouths that shouldn’t be there. Although children seem to be affected mildly by this virus, we are helping them make smart choices.
We’re going to the store and getting what we need. I’m not buying out every package of toilet paper at the grocery store. But I am stocking up on supplies so that we won’t need to go out in public as frequently. We’re thinking ahead and trying to at least cover the basics.
We’re doing what we can.
The Center for Disease Control advises washing hands and sanitizing frequently (just soap and water are effective), practicing good personal respiratory hygiene by avoiding social gatherings if you’re sick and coughing or sneezing into elbows, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and cleaning and disinfecting regularly.
We are trusting the reliable sources, and not panicking. The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control are actively posting reminders and telling us what we can do to stay safe right where we are. It’s easy to get scared by the unreliable sources—we’re making decisions based on what the reliable ones say.
And we are praying hard.
I feel so out of control, so anxious for my kids, who may have already come in contact with a virus, COVID-19 or otherwise. I’m remembering that God walks closely with and watches over the most vulnerable among us, that He knows and loves my kids more than even I do, and that He has a bigger perspective than I have.
Where is God in emergency situations? He’s walking with us, holding our hands. He’s close to us when we are sick or hurting. He loves our children and knows their hearts. Jesus was in the business of healing people, both body and soul.
Anxious mamas out there, please take comfort and know this: the God we serve is not absent or far from our communities during this time. No matter how fearful we can feel, or how bad the news gets.
Let’s do what we can for our families, encourage our children to make good choices, trust our instincts, and take advice from the right places. And please—always keep praying to the God who is near and listening.