I knew my child tested positive for COVID-19 when I saw his doctor putting on full PPE gear. My heart sank. As the doctor explained the ramifications of the positive result, I became choked up.
“Why are you getting upset, Mom?” my teenage son asked. “It’s not a big deal.” But to me, it was. Even though his case would likely be mild, I feared the unknown. Here’s how we managed, and 2 things I learned during his isolation.
Practical Matters First
First I had to figure out how to manage the virus in our house. I wanted to do my best to protect my husband, my daughter, and myself. My son went into his room as soon as we got home. I wore a mask whenever I left his meals outside his door. He wore a mask when he opened the door to get his food. I checked on him via FaceTime and he took his own temperature and checked his own oxygen levels.
After the first few days of isolation, I allowed him to come out at night after everyone else was in their rooms. He wore his mask and I opened all the windows before he entered the rest of the house. He’d close the windows before he went to bed, and in the morning I would re-open them and wipe down all surfaces. When my child tested positive for COVID-19, I expected to morph into Lysol Mom—I didn’t expect to feel any sense of gratitude. But I did, for two reasons.
My respect for my son grew.
I learned that the days go by very slowly while you wait to see what course the virus will take. My son’s sunny disposition was a powerful tool that helped him manage discouragement during isolation. I learned he could be more responsible for his own health than I had given him credit for and that I probably micromanaged him too much before he got sick. This experience has shown me that he is growing in responsibility and will be just fine when it comes time to be out on his own.
I came to value his presence.
If you have a teenager, you might laugh, but I genuinely missed my teen’s presence. On two occasions, toward the end of his isolation when he was feeling better, I let him go outside for fresh air. As I stood outside and waited for him to pass by, I touched his arms. When he exited isolation for good, he seemed like a celebrity among us. I couldn’t stop looking at his smiling face. I was extremely grateful, not just for his recovery but also, just for him.
Now, I relish having my son around. I don’t mind his teenage messes as much (there was a LOT of dried up, uneaten food when I finally did go into his room after his isolation!) and I have a new joy every time I see him. I shared my story with a friend and she said, “We should have that kind of joy every time we see our children, but real life makes it difficult to always feel that way.” Isn’t that the truth! It took a pandemic for me to appreciate my teenage son. Take a lesson from me: Ignore the mess a little bit more and find joy in your child’s smiling face.
Have you had to manage a case of COVID in your home? How did you deal with it?