On an August day a few years in the past, I went to Cleveland-Hopkins Airport with my child on my hip and my first two boys dressed as Batman and Spider-Man.
We walked to a gate contained in the terminal the place we watched a airplane from Arizona land and taxi to the gate. Minutes later my grandmother walked by the door and we enthusiastically greeted her.
4 weeks later, we took Grandma to a special gate at Cleveland-Hopkins, stated tearful goodbyes, then stayed on the gate to look at her airplane take off.
I keenly keep in mind that go to as a result of it was the final time my grandma got here to Ohio. I additionally bear in mind it as a result of simply days later two planes flew into the World Commerce Heart towers, irrevocably altering many elements of life as we knew it.
How quaint it now appears to look at planes take off and land from inside airport terminals when you haven’t any ticket to fly.
Throughout certainly one of her latest press conferences with Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio Division of Well being Director Dr. Amy Acton described how no one comes to know the influence and size of the present pandemic in a single day. Like all new realities, it takes time to course of.
That first week the children had been out of faculty, I understood why all establishments of studying had been closed — too many individuals in shut proximity. Nevertheless it by no means occurred to me that every one non-essential companies, together with hair salons, would additionally shut and I postponed taking my 7-year-old daughter, Lyra, for a much-needed trim.
Lyra’s lengthy, blonde hair is gorgeous when clear and brushed out, which isn’t any simple feat as her scalp could be very tender. And the longer her hair, the extra simply it tangles.
Recently, regardless of how gently I comb, nor how a lot detangler I take advantage of, Lyra screams, cries and quivers after I do her hair. Max and I joke that if the neighbors hear Lyra getting her hair brushed, they’ll name kids’s companies.
Traumatizing Lyra with brush and comb additionally traumatizes me. Exasperated, maybe as a lot by six weeks of quarantine as Lyra’s battle, final weekend I did what can be the unthinkable in regular instances.
I went to take away Lyra’s ponytail holder so she might take a shower. I’d barely tugged when she started screaming and yelling: “I don’t need it, I gained’t have it! No hair, no hair!” I went to the kitchen, grabbed a pair of utility scissors, returned to the lavatory and lopped off Lyra’s complete ponytail.
She went from wanting like actress Veronica Lake to resembling a Dickensian avenue waif.
The following day, I trimmed Lyra’s hair right here and there and he or she has one thing just like the shag haircut I had at her age within the early 1970s. A comb simply glides by what’s left, a aid for us each, for who is aware of when she’ll have the ability to have it mounted by an expert?
We don’t take 10-year-old Leif or Lyra anyplace besides Max’s (solo) workplace and the metro parks on uncrowded weekdays. I cringe after I see kids in grocery shops, however I additionally know some folks haven’t any selection however to take their kids with them.
We by no means watch TV information, however do hearken to our native NPR station, WKSU, most days. I flip it off every time tales air on COVID-19 charges of an infection and dying tolls. But Leif, who understands what is occurring in ways in which Lyra can’t, is exhibiting indicators of pressure.
A month into shelter-at-home, Leif obtained up from the desk the place he was doing faculty work, got here to me and wrapped his arms round my waist. Along with his face buried between my arm and my facet, I abruptly realized he was sobbing.
“What’s incorrect?” I requested.
“I do not need you to die of COVID. I really like you, Mama.” I assured him I used to be not more likely to die of COVID, even when I caught it, whereas silently questioning if what I stated was true.
“Are you afraid of catching COVID-19?” I requested Max once we had been grocery procuring a number of days later. When he informed me he was, I requested if his life insurance coverage coverage was paid up and we laughed.
Gallows-humor memes and cartoons are cropping up like ants in my kitchen on the primary heat days of spring. A latest New York Occasions article defined why: humor helps us cope. Individuals in Nazi focus camps, troopers in WWI and people who endured the bubonic plague all indulged in darkish humor.
Later that day when Max requested me the identical query, we found our biggest worry is one and the identical: What if Lyra, who has Down syndrome and subsequently could also be much less resilient, contracted COVID-19? Simply typing these phrases makes my eyes effectively up.
What’s going to our new actuality seem like when a COVID-19 vaccine turns into accessible and this exhausting pandemic ends? No person is aware of.
I maintain out hope that having gone by this collectively — not simply as households, communities, states or nations, however as a whole planet of individuals — we could come out on the opposite facet higher ready and keen to work collectively on different points going through all of humanity.
Contact Holly Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.