An Open Letter to All Those Crazy, Mask-wearing Bangor Area Moms Out There
Listen, I get it. People don't want to wear masks. There's nothing I can do about that. But, I am trying to be logical about this whole pandemic situation.
I have kids to protect. I'm a mom. That's my job. I subscribe to science. I subscribe to wearing masks for the health of me, my family and to you. I care about other people's health more than I do about protection of freedoms, some may say. Honestly, I don't see wearing a mask as taking away from my personal freedom. It's a minor inconvenience to me. I don't think it's that big of a deal when it comes to protecting my family and community.
What is a big a deal to me is contracting a virus that science won't understand for years to come, I'm talking ongoing issues of contracting this virus, possible life long repercussions.
I consider myself and my family healthy and really unlikely to die of this virus. But, no one will really know what happens until you contract it. Honestly, I want that to remain a mystery for me and my family.
I grew up adhering to the rules of school, abiding the road laws, following a code of conduct that keeps me employed. I was able to know where the bumpers were and glide along. It seems to have served me well, as far as I can tell.
Now, we're in the wild west- a world with a new virus. A world divided by old and new. A world unprepared for the future that is here. A world that reacts instead of prepares. This world, despite many millennia of viruses, was not ready for mother nature's oldest trick in the book, tosses out an enemy that is invisible to our naked eye.
How do I protect my family of five from this invisible enemy while the world seems to be giving up?
My theory is a quarter of people are really putting an effort into limiting exposure, altering their everyday lives. I am in this category. I have taken my kids out of school, taken as few trips to stores as possible, have stuck to no more sleep overs for the kids and their friends, outdoor birthday parties, working on reimagining Halloween and who knows what disappointing decisions come up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It sucks.
Also, in my theory, is a quarter of people are adding to the chaos of the pandemic via the insecurity of their personal freedoms, religious freedoms, or just don't don't believe the virus is really a thing. These are the anti-maskers, conspiracy theorists. I'm not wasting any words on this group.
Then, there's the half of people that have put in a little effort, who have gray area where I see just black and white. These people are the ones that don't want to offend or displace anyone. They don't see the situation gravely, they don't see it as a possibility to themselves. There's too many people in this gray area group and I as a mother can't trust the judgment of this portion.
I am a mom just trying to keep my kids safe but, I feel like I am fighting a tsunami.
Is it ridiculous that I'm having my kids do remote learning full-time? Is it ridiculous that I run back to my car when I forget my mask? Is it ridiculous to feel rage when I look at people crowded around Trump at Treworgy Family Orchard without a mask on? To see smiles on their faces? Smiles on their faces when I am sheltering my family, saying no over and over to my daughter who desperately wants a sleepover? Joy in their eyes when I am going to tell both of my girls 'no' when it comes to parties for their November birthdays this year? Is it ridiculous to feel ire, anguish and defeat when I see a phone held up to get a shot of the grotesque personification of selfishness and greed when I have seen businesses close, death tolls rise, and have personally weighed the pros and cons of quitting my job to take care of my family?
What do we do- mothers on the side of science, care and civility? How do we hang in there when we are fighting the tsunami of ignorance and chasing the gray area as we lead our families?
Most importantly, how do we navigate this world so when our kids look back at these times, our kids can say, "Mom, you did the right thing?"
And, maybe that's the key. Maybe that's the prospective we need to keep when we make our decisions: how our kids will remember the decisions we make today, tomorrow and until the end.
Frankly, an invisible enemy will always exist, they may take different forms but, they will continue. How we navigate those invisibles, the lessons learned, the effort put forth from those lessons- that is what will be remembered.
So, is it ridiculous to run back to my car to grab my mask when I had forgotten it initially? Is it ridiculous to think that wearing a mask is a symbol of compassion and care for your community- to actively try to protect people you don't even know?
No. It is not ridiculous.
It's not ridiculous because my kids are watching.
It's not ridiculous because the reason why we do what we do is because that's the world that we want our kids to live in.
Fight the tsunami and protect those babies, even if it does seem kinda ridiculous right now.