Our family’s saga began the Friday before the MLK Holiday. We got a call from the school nurse saying our 7-year-old wasn’t feeling well. She had basic cold symptoms that lasted a full weekend, and by Monday, had spread to my 3 and 11-year-old. By Wednesday, the presumed source of infection was back to herself, and her siblings were testing positive for the most dominant variant in the United States. The domino effect continued with me testing positive, and finally, my husband.
Our household has two fully Pfizer’d kids and boostered adults, but with the number of positive cases for the highly contagious omicron variant, Keith and I recently started shifting our thinking from— “How can we prevent ourselves from catching this thing?” to “What are we going to do when we get it? What will our response plan be?”
The benefit of being a mostly-vaccinated household resulted in mild symptoms. Not saying it wasn’t inconvenient or even scary at first. Nonetheless, we conquered it, and thank Goodness, it was a bearable experience. The Sibley’s served their time in isolation and then life quickly got back to normal.
Life in the age of COVID has taught our family many things. Here are 10 tips should it ever hit your home:
1. Don’t delay. When you see signs or symptoms, even if they are basic cold symptoms, take action. Take a test or two. The thing about having mild symptoms is one could assume they are dealing with a normal cold or sinus infection, but it is in fact COVID…
2. Keep kids used to the idea of online learning or virtual school engagement so that on their strong days they can keep their minds active while in quarantine.
3. Stock up on recovery foods and beverages should there be a loss of appetite: soups, jello, crackers, trail mix, yogurt, ginger ale, oranges, grits, gatorade, orange juice, etc. And don’t forget essential supplies such as lysol, hand sanitizer, and kleenex.
4. Have a special fund set aside for DoorDash or Uber Eats.
5. Have lots of spare, clean linen available and on deck for night sweats. Wash soiled linen right away.
6. While you’re well and COVD-free, keep your immune system strong: take vitamins and supplements, exercise regularly, get sufficient rest, eat fruits, veggies, and omega-3-rich foods.
7. COVID can cause some substantial feelings to emerge– fear, isolation, blame, guilt, and paranoia. It can all easily lead to negligence of our loved ones causing us to forget that security needs are real— and the greatest healing modality is love. Instill caution, distance, and safety as best as possible, but never stop practicing humanity. Never stop showing your family love.
8. Encourage positive thinking, especially with kids, who can assume the worst. Let them know they will absolutely be okay. The caveat? You must believe your family will be okay. Try not to panic. Breathe.
9. COVID in the house can instantly activate the mom/ nurse part of the brain. I don’t know the scientific reason, but my maternal and caregiving instincts were triggered profoundly that week. I remember thinking while delivering food on a tray, spoon-feeding soup, taking temperatures, and sanitizing, “Wow, this ain’t nothing but Jackie in me.” There I was, taking care of my children, managing my household and work zooms with a graceful diligence that made my husband pause one time and tease, “show-off”. I wanted to say, “it’s not me, it’s her.” Totally her….The maternal instinct can be a beautiful, powerful, and familiar thing.
10. Continue to wear a mask and faithfully wash your hands to protect yourself and prevent the spread of this highly contagious variant.
What would you add to this list? What’s the greatest lesson COVID-19 has taught you?
To learn about how COVID-19 may play out in 2022 and beyond, join my non-profit organization for a community “walk and talk” during National Black History Month in McComb:
Clinnesha is a wife, mom, daughter/sister/auntie, literary artist, humanities scholar, and social entrepreneur. Her advocacy work is at the intersection of black/feminist thought, arts, culture, and community. She is currently promoting her book of personal narratives, Serenity Everyday, a passion project adapted from this blog.