What once was worn primarily by medical professionals has now become mandatory for some Americans. In fact, some stores across the country will not allow shoppers to enter unless they are wearing a facemask.
Countless crafty people have been stitching surgical-style masks and selling them to the general public, while other people have tried their hand at making their own. Doctors and others on the front line have repeatedly emphasized that they are low on personal protective equipment, or PPEs, and begged people not to buy or use the N95 masks that they need when testing and treating COVID-19 patients.
Talking to children about the coronavirus pandemic is tough. Helping younger ones understand why they can’t see their friends and go to school is heartbreaking.
High school seniors are struggling with the abrupt end of their school year and the possibility of no senior prom, no graduation ceremony and no other memories being made to signal the end of an era.
But kiddos with parents on the front line have an additional fear. Their mom or dad may never come home.
Many medical professionals are opting to stay in hotel rooms, donated RVs and other facilities so they don’t spread the deadly virus to their loved ones back home. The ones who do return to their own house follow a rigid disinfecting process to hopefully avoid introducing the coronavirus to their families in case the droplets hitchhiked home on their shoes and clothes.
In the meantime, those on the front line may pop by and see their kiddos through the front door glass. Phone calls and FaceTime become the next best thing to being there in person.
Mom and blogger Mary Katherine “MK” Backstrom has taught her children how important facemasks are for them to wear and for their daddy Ian and his coworkers to wear when he’s at the hospital where he works as a doctor.
One particular FaceTime call the children shared with their dad sent chills down his spine.
“I love you, Daddy!”
“I love you, too, Baby Girl!”
“Don’t get coronavirus, Daddy!”
That made Ian pause….
“…I love you, sweetie!”
Mary Katherine disconnected their call and began settling the kids down for bed with the conversation haunting her. Their son Benjamin quickly drifted off to sleep.
But their little girl Holland was having a harder time adjusting to daddy being gone, the family being cooped up and all of the new rules put in place to keep them safe.
Mom was hoping their FaceTime call would ease Holland’s anxiety, but it seemed to only make it worse. All because of one thing…
“Holland, what is it?”
The little girl paused as she laid in bed, then turned toward her mommy and asked her a question that broke her heart.
“Why wasn’t Daddy wearing his superhero mask?”
Mary Katherine had noticed that Ian had moved his mask below his chin for just a few seconds as he bid goodbye to his kiddos. He wanted Holland in particular to see her Daddy smile back at her.
“You see, Holland’s been needing a LOT of reassurance these days. We have had our fair share of anxiety tummy aches. There has been a lot of crying over weird things, when we all know the ‘weird thing’ isn’t what she’s crying about at all. She’s been wanting to be held, carried and coddled. And I just keep doing everything I can to meet those needs. Sometimes it’s exhausting, because frankly—I am stressed, too.”
But like any amazing momma, Mary Katherine focuses all of her energy on her kiddos during such a stressful time. The littles aren’t just upset with the new world they’re living in, but they are aware that their daddy has a dangerous job right now.
So Mary Katherine snuggled with Holland to wait while the worried little girl drifted off to sleep.
“You don’t need to worry about your Daddy. He’s a superhero. You know that.”
Holland grew weepy and turned her beautiful big brown tear-filled eyes toward her mom and said:
“But even superheroes have to wear their masks.”
Mary Katherine’s heart shattered into a million pieces. Her perceptive little girl with the big heart now had a new worry because her daddy who’s dedicated to saving others’ lives from the deadly virus didn’t have his mask on.
The uncertainty that lurks in dark shadows and under the bed for kids has now magnified itself in unimaginable ways. Children are relying even more on their parents to keep them safe and reassured.
Shannon Petrick commented on Mary Katherine’s Facebook post that her “heart hurts for her.”
“Like you said, it’s hard enough for all of us adults but kids it’s so hard. Thank God for people like your husband who can do that for a job and show up. It would be a scary and trying time. It is for sure in your blood if you’re a ‘helper.’ Stay strong momma. You are rocking it.”
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Michelle Leukhardt Holton’s daughter was very worried when she saw people without masks on, the mom shared on Facebook
“We went for a walk on a trail yesterday wearing our masks. We were the only ones there wearing masks. At one point, my youngest daughter knelt down by a tree and started praying. ‘Why are you praying, Baby?’ I asked her. ‘I’m praying that those people won’t give anyone coronavirus.’ Then she got mad and was shouting at them from a distance that they needed masks. We went home.”
Children may see Mom and Dad as superheroes at home, but the real ones are out there where the rest of us can’t go, fighting an unseen enemy that’s proven to be a challenging opponent.
Bless Holland’s daddy Ian and all the other men and women on the front line right now. And hugs to their loved ones who fretfully wait for them to return home.
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