Ugh, we were so close. Once I was fully vaccinated in early April – and even more so once my older daughter was fully vaccinated in June – I had started running into the grocery store without my mask, making dentist and doctor’s appointments I’d been putting off, attending a few outdoor gatherings. I even dined indoors with my 83-year-old father (who was fully vaccinated in February).

That’s all off the table now, in the latter case quite literally, as I am not dining inside myself, let alone with my vaccinated-but-vulnerable father!

The numbers are exploding and even vaccinated people are getting sick (although mostly with milder cases).

And we had our first actual confirmed exposure (because of my dad, we locked wayyyy down from March 2020 until February 2021, which explains a lot about why we weren’t exposed sooner).

Ruby (vaccinated) had dinner with Nana, her grandmother (vaccinated), before she left St. Louis on Saturday – I got a text from her dad on Sunday that Nana had tested positive.

Technically, Ruby doesn’t have to quarantine, but we have canceled plans with our more susceptible friends and family members until we get an official negative test, and I hope that’s doing enough. (I’ve consulted with actual medical professionals on this, but I still feel wary.)

I’m frustrated and emotionally exhausted. I don’t mind the masks, really, and I was never big on crowds anyway, but I wanted a normal school year for my kids, for myself. I wanted to be able to share a pizza with my dad and not worry that leaving the house is going to kill him. I wanted to be able to take my younger kid – too young to be vaccinated – into a store again.

And yet here we are again. I typing this from behind a mask, my glasses fogging up. My younger daughter and father are mostly confined to their homes. My older daughter is stressed about her COVID exposure. My husband and I are only socializing with vaccinated people and even then mostly outside.

I’m encouraged to see that vaccination rates are going up, although I fear it’s too little, too late, and I’m holding my breath until the vaccine is approved for kids under 12.

But mostly, I’m just planning to keep laying low, masking up, screaming at the sky, and having an existential crisis.

Stay safe out there, everybody.