I’m trying really hard to pretend everything is OK. That I feel fine and normal and am back in a routine and finding comfort in it.
And I guess that’s partially true.
I like having my kids back in school and knowing that for my younger one, Tuesday is the special T-shirt day and Friday they get to wear jeans. (Every day is “jeans-and-bare- midriff day” for my older one, unless she happens to opt for “jeans-and-hoodie-eight- sizes-too-big day.”) I like posting the lunch menu on the fridge and knowing that graded papers come home once a week in the red folder. I like doing laundry that isn’t just all pajamas, and I like the fact that my teenager has real friends instead of just faces in boxes on Zoom. I like drinking my morning coffee at my desk while checking my email and having my own quiet office versus trying to work in the breakfast nook while helping my kids with various tech issues and math problems and having to reheat my coffee multiple times.
But I’m scared again. I had maybe one glorious week in which all members of my immediate family were fully vaccinated and I felt like we could maybe start to relax. To breathe. To take my younger kid into a store again. And then came Omicron.
While it’s true that I’ve more or less made my peace with the fact that we will probably all catch it, I can’t quite make that square with my risk-averse nature and my urge to plan.
We can’t go back to a full-on lockdown. My kids need to be in school; I know that. It’s been almost two years; Georgia has spent almost 20% of her entire life in a pandemic. And we’re doing all the things we need to be doing to stay as safe as possible: vaccines, boosters, masks, frequent testing. But I still wake up at 3 a.m. with my heart racing, trying to figure out the math of when and where we might have been exposed and when we should try to get tested and whether Georgia coughing in her sleep is a sign that COVID is coming for us all.
I’ve hit a point where I would happily get a weekly vaccine into my eyeball while wearing 18 masks if things could just get back to normal and I could sleep at night.
And yes, I know my kids are more at risk in the car on the way to school than they are in the classroom. If any of us get sick, we will in all likelihood be fine. I know I can’t possibly worry about all the things, even though I definitely worry about a lot of the things. I know I should try to live my life normally because nothing is free of risk.
I’m just tired. I’m tired of washing my hands and swabbing my nose and breathing my own breath in a tight-fitting mask all day. I’m tired of worrying every headache is COVID when in reality it’s probably from too much wine because I think I’m drinking too much, since I’m stressed.
Like I said, I’m trying to pretend everything is OK.
But in reality, it’s not. It’s just not. Not yet anyway.
Until then, I guess …