January 10, 2021

The Hardest Part about Raising a Family through a Pandemic.

It’s a sad sight for me when I see my two-year-old find a mask on the table or in the car and put it on her face as if that’s the only “normal” she knows.

On the other hand, I have a four-year-old who doesn’t understand why she has to wear a mask or stay away from people, especially her grandparents.

My eight-year-old has serious asthma complications and, mask or not, his breathing is hard to control—so we’re stuck in the middle of him needing to wear one for “protection” of the floating virus versus not wearing one to get fresh air to his lungs.

The inconvenience in this pandemic is not being able to send my kids to school. Due to the severity of my son’s asthma, his pulmonologist recommended homeschooling for his safety of being high-risk.

My four-year-old is of preschool age and we sent her back to school once they opened up, and the same week she went back, the entire household got sick. We didn’t catch COVID-19, but some sort of cold or sinus infection. So now we have her being homeschooled as well.

I should be working and providing for them and making money to keep us afloat. Unfortunately, I was let go in my sales job because people stopped spending money on my company’s products and services and bought all of the toilet paper instead—meanwhile, my wife is taking care of her grandmother who is on hospice.

Where in there can we balance homeschooling three children (we will get to the third kid’s story soon)? We can’t, so I do what I can for school with my son and my wife’s fourteen-year-old cousin who is now living with us for different reasons, while my wife takes care of her grandmother and does what little teaching is necessary for my four-year-old who is at a kindergarten or higher level intellectually. Needless to say, we’re not doing well financially. I stress over it probably more than I should. I mean, we still have each other, right?

The hardest part about this pandemic is my father. He has severe respiratory issues and heart disease. He has suffered a few heart attacks, had a triple by pass, and I don’t even know how many stints placed in his arteries. Both my mom and dad decided for his safety that they quarantine for as long as possible. I’m not mad at them; I understand. I would be panicked too.

I might have lied when I said the hardest part was my father in this situation. The hardest part is my two-year-old seeing my parents’ wedding picture on our refrigerator, “Grammy….Grammy…poopaw!”

Every day, she sees that picture and asks for her Grammy. My mom happened to make a rush trip to stock groceries and supplies at Costco, and while she was there, I asked her to pick something up for us. When she dropped it off outside, I took my two-year-old with me to grab it, and as soon as she saw her Grammy—she was so excited she tried launching right out of my arms toward her.

She didn’t understand why daddy couldn’t let Grammy take her and squeeze and kiss her just as any other grandmother would do. Deep down I feel terrible. Not only did I have to watch my baby cry because she couldn’t go to Grammy, but I also had to watch my mom cry over it.

“Why did I take her out there?” I think to myself constantly, seeing the images of her and my mom both crying because they wanted to hold each other and hug each other.

I still worry about this situation because we don’t know what’s happening; we don’t know what this new vaccine is or if it will work. What do we do? Keep our families apart and FaceTime or Zoom for the rest of my dad’s unknown lifespan?

I want to get outdoors and camp and off road with him and my son, but those days are numbered at this point. I hope we can do this soon because there’s not a better bonding experience than the three of us camping, trailing, and doing guy stuff together.

I still feel somewhat grateful through parts of this. We’re alive, we’re healthy, and we still have each other.

Some days we grow closer, and some days we want to rip each other’s faces off.

I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the next few months of finances. I’ll figure something out, as that is what I swore to do, not only as a father but as a husband.

We have a long way to go before this is over, which means we have a lot more to learn. I’m ready to face whatever it takes in order to make sure mine gets through this mentally and physically.


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