Gimme Shelter (in place)


The last time I had the flu was during the Reagan administration. No kidding. It spread through our high school so fast that we had to cancel a basketball game because we didn’t have enough players. 

I really don’t ever get sick. I almost never get a flu shot (although, did they make me when I was pregnant? Those days are a bit of a blur.) But this year my mom was getting chemotherapy so I made the decision to get one. After I got my shot I kept thinking I was getting the flu — not because I think the vaccine gives you the flu — but, you know, Murphy’s Law.

Now I’m at the stage of this pandemic where I, like many of you, can’t stop thinking about symptoms. Is this tickle in my throat my first symptom? Am I sneezing more often than normal? Is my obsessive cleaning too obsessive? Or am I not doing enough? 

Maybe you’re worrying about your elderly parents or your child who has asthma. Or maybe you’re just bored. Or angry because your plans are getting cancelled. Or panicking because you’re not getting paid. I feel for my friends who are sheltering in place solo. I feel for graduating seniors. And brides-to-be.

I know lots of parents are feeling inadequate because they’re not really doing anything well — they’re supposed to be working and educating their kids at the same time. And keeping the house stocked with toilet paper.

I’m not only worried about getting sick or getting my loved ones sick, I’m frustrated because this is the time of year that Roxy and I visit the most schools — sometimes two or three times a week. This is our busy season. Not only do the boxes of books remain unread in my basement, I lose out on the much-needed boost I get from connecting with kids about rescue and writing. I can’t stop thinking about the kiddos in this picture, whom I saw just a day before Hartford schools were closed. Most of them, I was told, had been eating at their school three times a day. 

We all react differently to crappy situations. Let’s be (virtually) present for each other. Let’s try to be understanding of the ways we all react to this new kind of stress. And let’s cut ourselves some slack. We will get through this.

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