Pandemic Panic

As the pandemic reaches the mass vaccination stage, I’m sure I’m not the only one still battling panic. I think those of us who have suffered losses understand and experience this panic in a unique way.

It is always a struggle for me to let my kids do ‘risky’ things. I’m a stickler for safety. Because the worst has happened, I know the worst can happen, and can happen to me. So, part of me doesn’t just fear that a bad outcome can result from carelessness, it is utterly convinced that it will. That if I let the kids ride in Grandma and Grandpa’s car to the restaurant a mile away without their car seats, that they WILL be in a deadly accident. If I let them ride their bikes without helmets, they WILL crash and suffer a traumatic brain injury. If I don’t remind my son to wear his harness and clip in while climbing the ship’s rigging, he WILL plummet to his death. And, most recently, if I let my daughter attend her band banquet at a venue where I’m not sure proper pandemic precautions will be taken, she WILL contract Covid and die.

So, here we are, with vaccinations opening to the general public within the month. My husband has had half of his, I am scheduled to get the one shot version this week, I’m attempting to get an appointment for my son who is now eligible. But I have no idea when my daughter will be eligible, since she’s that magic age of fifteen, too young by a year to meet any of the current qualifications.

I am terrified that precautions will slacken, activities will be more available and less safe, that we ourselves may loosen up too much. I know children are at less risk of severe cases. But I also know that’s no guarantee. The worst can happen to us. The worst has happened to us. It could happen again. So I struggle with what to allow, with balancing caution with paranoia, with trusting fate with one of my most valuable blessings. How can I protect her while not squashing her, keep her safe without holding her back? It seems this should be getting easier, and yet I’m more worried now than I have been since all of this started. So many of us are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, are making plans, are heaving a sigh of relief. Here I am, fearing an oncoming train, too anxious to be relieved.

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