I Discovered Out I Had Covid on TikTok. Now What? | by Patricia Pan Connor | Jan, 2021
IIt’s been 10 long months of social distancing, quarantine, and distance learning. For children it was like a single sentence. It has caused sadness, loneliness, and despair for both of my teenagers. Over time, I realized that total isolation was not sustainable if I wanted them to maintain anything about positive mental health.
Our family has a history of depression and even sI don’t take things lightly when it comes to mental health. After the first four months of total lockdown, we allowed the kids to see friends outside for beach walks, hang out on the beach six feet apart, surf, skateboard, bike rides, hike, and six feet on ours Outside terrace to hang out a part. I’ve never been so lucky to live in California.
I recently read a New York Times, titled “I Hate the Mom Who Covid Made Me,” in which writer Kristen Howerton laments the moral dilemma of letting her kids hang out with friends at the skate park – the obsessive nagging it takes is to admit it. Howerton writes:
The longer they’re gone, the more a nagging starts to build up in my head. Do you really leave these masks on? They are the only children I have ever seen in this park. Will they be responsible or will they bow to social pressures? Am I doing the right thing to let her go Is it really safe? Will I catch Covid for letting them skate?
Many of us parents have become paranoid cops for wanting to make our children appear normal. Like this mother, I have often driven past the park where my son is supposed to make sure that he actually wears a mask like he intended.
Howerton admits, “I don’t want to be a mother who spies on her children. I don’t want to be a mother who screams in public. And yet here I am. “
Sing it sister. In making these decisions, we had to compensate for the increased risk. It made some of us the kind of mothers we never imagined.
When I was driving past my son in the parking lot of a local elementary school with my friends recently, his mask was hanging around his neck. None of his other friends wore them. I didn’t scream, but I called him and sternly told him he could either put it on or get in my car. My voice got louder and I was irritable. I couldn’t stay cool because I know what it’s about. Last year was just full of good times like these.
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On New Year’s Eve, my son said he was invited to someone’s home for an outdoor meeting with a handful of children. He finds friends everywhere, so we didn’t know this particular family. I asked for the mother’s phone number. She assured me that the kids would stay outside and that if my son had to come to the bathroom, he would make sure he was wearing a mask. My husband and I thought about it. “Okay,” we said, “You can go if you promise us to stay outside and wear a mask.” My son quickly agreed. We repeated, “You promise you will stay outside and wear a mask?” Absolutely yes, he swore, “I always do.”
For the first time in our adult lives, we had no plans for New Years Eve. Even our 16-year-old daughter, who obeyed the rules, had declined several invitations because of Covid. I was drinking a vodka lemonade with lime and playing my husband at a game of backgammon when my 10-year-old exclaimed, “Sarah says on TikTok that she probably has Covid because Maeve has Covid!”
Sarah is the twin sister of one of my son’s closest friends, with whom he regularly rode his bike and skateboarded. “I’ll get him right away,” said my husband when I sent a text to the mother who is taking care of my son: “I think he was exposed to Covid. My husband is on his way. “
The next morning, I make an appointment for my son and husband (since he’s driving, why not?) To have quick Covid tests at the nearest drive-through test center for $ 475 each. When they return, we’ll all sit outside when the test results come in by text. Negative, says my husband. I get the text with our son’s result on my cell phone. Positive. Pooh.
Until now it was a hypothesis. But as reality slowly drains away, I realize that my two daughters and I also need to be tested. Our son is locked in his room, which luckily has an outside entrance and a private bathroom. He is not allowed to enter any other part of the house.
The girls and I make appointments and do our $ 475 rapid test, “for your comfort,” I think. Our 10 year old is negative. Phew But my 16 year old – who followed all the rules – and I are both positive. “That’s not fair!” my daughter wails, “I haven’t done anything risky!” And then it all comes out.
Since she has most likely picked him up in her car a few times in the past week, she turns him on and begins listing all of his violations: “When I picked him up from Maeve, he said he was outside and was only walking on the halfpipe, but he came from within! ”; “When I picked him up in the park, he wasn’t even wearing a mask”; “I heard he kissed girls during Covid.”
Yes, we probably got it from his non-compliant behavior, but he’s 14 and an immature boy who barely remembers how to flush the toilet. I do not apologize because in this case I went through all stages of grief. I was mad. I accused. I lamented my bad parenting and lack of control. Then I settled in.
As frustrating as his “breaking the rules” is, he is a child and has suffered. We all do our best. I think the best I can do now is support him and love him unconditionally. I understand why this happened and it’s hard to blame him. When I saw in the Wall Street Journal why teenagers’ brains urge young people to ignore virus restrictions, it made me feel calm.
My son, daughter and I are Covid positive. What now?