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3 Perks to Protecting Our Immune-Fragile Child During Germ Season

Hibernation season is upon us. It’s coming quickly on the heels of the first approaching frost, if not sooner.

I don’t mean for the squirrels who have gathered acorns for the last few months, angrily staring me down as I walk the path to the hospital and threatening me with their bushy little tails.

I mean for us medical families.

Hibernation season. The season when we gather together as a family and vow to uphold the most impeccable cleanliness known to man.

Hibernation season. Something we willingly do to help protect our immune-fragile kiddos.

Hibernation season. To be honest, this season is hard. It’s pulling away from everything to protect the thing that matters most to us. But it’s hard. And it’s hard to hear comments about how ridiculous it is to insist on our seasonal family bubble.

As if we don’t already suffer from enough anxiety on a daily basis, we also have to deal with this panicky situation during this time of year. We have to make checklist after checklist for “World War Germ.”

Grocery list: Need more hand sanitizer. Need more disinfectant wipes. Need signs for the door. Need hand-sanitizing station. Need a 10-foot pole (I totally heard that person cough over there and need to measure my distance!)

While some of you may pity us stay-at-home-bubblers, please remember the common cold can land our child in the PICU. No joke. And there’s nothing like a mama bear whose trached child has been off their vent for six months, only to be put back on ventilator settings while riding the beast that is a common cold.

But there are three perks to hibernation season:

1. You get to have your groceries delivered. 

Yes. You simply sit down with a cup of hot apple cider and select your items with the touch of a magic button. They then amazingly appear at your doorstep within the day. No kids crying over Mommy saying no to frozen fruit snacks. No overbuying because you skipped lunch. Don’t lie. We’ve all done it. And if your grocery store is as awesome as ours, they’ll deliver balloons for the kids from time to time and ask how our sweet girl is doing these days. They’ll cry with you on a hard day. They’ll encourage you. They’ll politely stand at your front door while you check off the items because they’re aware they work in a very publicly “germed-up” place.

2. You get to avoid the awkward handshakes and half hugs. 

If you’re like my husband, you get to avoid hugs all together. You’ll pull out your crocheted winter seasonal sweater that says, “Germ Season. No Hugs or Handshakes,” and wear it to the staff Christmas party — that you’re not attending.

3. You get to spend an incredible amount of family time together.

The best perk of hibernation season is the sheer amount of family time that comes with canceling every activity from Halloween to Easter. Yes, it’s hard to cross off “visit pumpkin patch” or “attend Christmas concert” on the calendar. But you’re in this together as a family. You’re teaching them how important they are and their health is to you. You’re getting more hours in the day to soak them up, snuggle them up and be together.

So cue the Christmas music. Dig out the comfy sweats. Winterize the house. Hang the beautiful chalkboard sign, decorated with cedar bows and cranberries, outside your door that says, “Have You Coughed Lately?” Make some more DIY Sharpie mugs because you’re going to need them on those cold November nights when the wind is blowing the leaves into dark swirls against the harvest moon’s glow. The homemade hot chocolate will warm you down to the bottom of your yoga pants as you snuggle with your little one and the oxygen saturation monitor alarm goes off because your child pulled it off, again.

Welcome to hibernation season! Warm season’s greetings from our closed door to yours!

baby laying in fall leaves between two older siblings

Follow this journey on Our Chloe Elizabeth.