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Why My Son’s Reaction to COVID-19 Was an Anxiety Wake-Up Call

Last week, I left the house for the first time since March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. My son had a doctor’s appointment and they are seeing anyone under the age of 5 in person. When I got the call, I was a bit surprised they would bring him into the office, but decided it was inevitable because he needed his kindergarten vaccinations.

The day of the appointment, we gave him his newly made Buffalo Bills mask to wear. I anticipated a breakdown over how it felt on his ears and face. I thought he would have trouble keeping it on. To my surprise, he was excited to wear it. “Mama, I can keep other people healthy!” he exclaimed.

When we got to the office, we walked into an empty waiting room. The toys had been removed and the chairs pulled apart. My son casually looks around and says, “hmm, no people. They must be at home.” We get called back by a nurse wearing a mask and a face shield. I am constantly looking for signs that he is uncomfortable. My anxiety is at full blast by this time, but he proudly announces to the nurse that he is getting big and hops on the scale.

The doctor comes into the room with her protective gear on and makes a comment about “looking like an alien.” Yet, throughout the exam, my kiddo is hamming it up, showing off, smiling at her and showing off his jumps. I am astounded that the current situation has zero effect on him.

This was a wake-up call for me. I am uncomfortable with all of these changes but I can’t put my anxiety and discomfort onto my kids. I can’t let fear govern their lives, especially not my own fear. Kids are resilient, they are adaptable, and they are incredibly caring. Keeping others healthy was enough rationale for my child for his world to be flipped upside down, while I looked on in terror, shock and surprise.

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Photo by Remy_Loz on Unsplash