Well, our family caught something this Carnival season … but it wasn’t a King Arthur grail or a Muses shoe or even a strand of beads.

Nope, just in time for the festivities, COVID has hit our household.

It started two weeks ago with my older daughter, who is vaccinated, boosted, and never felt the least bit bad; we only knew she had it because she came up positive on a routine school screening.

But then this past weekend, Georgia started showing symptoms – cough, fever, headache, congestion, the whole nine. We tested her, but it felt like merely a formality: After two years, it’s pretty much common knowledge that those symptoms, after a known exposure, were almost certainly going to be COVID. And sure enough, the test turned positive almost immediately.

When a 15-year-old girl has to isolate from the household, the sad truth is that it’s hardly even noticeable. She isolates from the household as a matter of routine. We all tested five days after she first tested positive, and we were negative, so we were hopeful that maybe we had escaped.

Now, with Georgia down, I have no confidence at all that we will stay negative. I know the guidance is that we should stay masked in our home, but by the time we realized she was positive, we’d all been exposed anyway. And when a 9-year-old girl is sick – or at least when my particular 9-year-old girl is sick – she just wants to snuggle and use me, alternatingly, as a human pillow and a human Kleenex. Not to be indelicate, but with the amount of snot that’s been deposited on me in the past two days, I could bathe in Moderna vaccine and brush my teeth with Pfizer and I would still probably get sick.

So this is it, I guess. We’re all vaccinated, testing as frequently as is feasible, and masking anytime we leave the house (which we were mostly doing anyway). If we get sick (when we get sick), we will isolate ourselves and get groceries delivered and just hunker down till it passes.

The silver linings, I guess, are that we might make it out of quarantine in time to catch a few parades on Fat Tuesday and that ultimately, the only one of us who is actually super-excited for Carnival season is the one who just “recovered” (even though she was never sick) and has since tested negative. So at least she will be able to catch some new Mardi Gras cups for us to restock the pantry!

Please send us well wishes … and lots of tissues! Happy Mardi Gras, everyone, and stay safe!