Pandemic Motherhood Diary, Entry 6: My Sons Deserve to Live
By Melissa Menny
This is the sixth entry in our series on the experience of raising two “pandemic kids.” Read entry 5 here.
Our son saw his favorite animal up close for the first time: the “ev-phants,” better known as the elephants. As soon as we walked into the exhibit, he tried to break free from our hands for a closer view. Eventually, my husband and I took turns picking him up to take him close enough to point in awe. This was a huge difference from the animated ones he has seen on his tablet.
My husband and I took our boys to the zoo two weeks ago and immediately it felt like we were the only ones still “pandemic cautious.” Almost no one was wearing masks. The very few people that we saw wearing masks were very few and far between. Although I felt uncomfortable, I decided to see the outing through.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been very selective about the public spaces we choose to take our children. The doctors’ office and parks have been the only spaces we have frequented as a family and even the doctor’s office doesn’t allow us all in at once. When we are really feeling bold, we will go into a Target in the evening because we have learned what type of foot traffic we can expect. There is some small comfort when we go somewhere and still expect to see masks and sanitizer galore. It reminds me that we aren’t alone in our concerns.
The zoo had the complete opposite appeal. The employees didn’t greet us with masks or sanitizers. I could probably count on my fingers how many people we saw wearing masks — and wearing them properly. The zoo had reached its capacity and turned people away. The sea of people walking around freely was a bit worrisome, but we put those thoughts aside.
One thing that was apparent was our toddler’s sheer excitement. He wanted to speak to everyone that passed by us and he would have taken off running if we allowed it. Although the zoo itself was underwhelming, our son got the opportunity to see animals he’s only seen on a computer screen. Hearing him say that three-syllable word while pointing at them made the risk seem worth it.
“My sons deserve to live” is the statement that I keep telling myself with every decision we make while keeping the dual meaning in mind. While I attempt in slight agony to take my kids to different places, I can’t help but always wonder if we are doing the right thing.
Am I ready to forego all safety precautions in exchange for more experiences for my toddler? Not entirely. But, I am willing to make more prayerful attempts simply because they deserve to live a life. Both my sons deserve joy outside of the confines of pandemic fear.
Melissa Menny is an author with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. She is a poet and a writer in all aspects. When she is not working, she enjoys painting, music, and spending time with her husband and two sons.