When this all began, I had multiple conversations with my friends about how all of our parents were having a difficult time staying at home — specifically, our mothers.
(At this point, you know when I refer to “this,” I am talking about COVID-19, right?)
Washington state had not yet mandated the official stay at home order, but I was already fully working from home. Most people were already significantly changing their lifestyles. However, my mom kept insisting that her children still come over for Sunday dinner every week.
Dinner is on?
My younger brother and I have always gone over to our parents’ house for dinner every Sunday since we went off to college. It was actually a tradition that started when I was in college and home was only a 15-minute drive away. I lived on campus and would always go home, often with my roommate who was from out-of-state, for a home-cooked meal every Sunday. Now married, unless my husband and I have a Sounders home match to attend, or we are out of town for vacation or perhaps a weekend camping trip, you know where to find us on a Sunday evening. My cousin who has been living in Seattle for the past five years has also been joining since she moved to the city.
My mom kept insisting that “it was fine.” We’re healthy and clean, she and my dad are healthy and clean. But, at the time, my brother was not fully working from home. Until recently, I had also been in the office. There also wasn’t a lot known about the coronavirus. Was it really OK?
My parents are in their early 60s and while healthy, I worry more because they are getting older. I was not going to put my otherwise healthy parents’ health at risk by joining them for dinner, as much as I love my parents’ cooking and company.
This made my mom a bit upset, especially when I started telling my brother and his girlfriend to stop attending her dinners. (My cousin had already stopped on her own).
On March 23, when Gov. Inslee announced our Washington state stay at home order, the first thing I did was call my mom: OK, look, now you cannot legally host your dinners. We do not live in the same household so it goes against the state order.
A begrudging “OK, OK …” came through from the other end of the phone line.
You can’t fly now
Another thing my mom and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on at the start was her plans to go to Japan to visit my grandma. Long before the COVID-19 outbreak, she and my dad had planned a trip to Japan to visit and take care of my grandma, who lives alone.
Again, my mom kept insisting that she is healthy and never gets sick. She would wear a mask and gloves on the flight. Don’t worry so much, Kristin.
I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Why would you put your 93-year-old mother at risk with potentially bringing this virus into her house? At this point, the news was already out about how people could be carriers without have any symptoms.
During one phone conversation, I burst out crying, pleading with my mom to change her mind. My dad had already decided to not go to Japan, so why couldn’t she also do the same? “Who is going to take care of my mom then? She is by herself,” she replied to me.
“At this point, she’s better off if you leave her be for a little while longer,” I retorted.
Thankfully, she and my grandma, and my aunt, talked it through and they decided my mom should stay put in Seattle.
Life goes on — sort of
We are now into more than a month of quarantining at our individual homes. My dad has been doing a good job of keeping himself occupied and being productive. He has been doing a lot of yard work. He has been going through all his old home videos (of me and my brother when we were kids) and has been digitizing the film so these keepsake videos can be saved and re-watched forever. I am actually looking forward to seeing some of these videos once I am able to physically go into my parents’ house again.
Then you have my mom. Her new hobby seems to be grocery shopping.
Whereas Bryce and I meticulously plan out our grocery trips and only go to one store every week to week-and-a-half, my mom has been going to multiple grocery stores — in one day.
A normal conversation we had the other week:
“Mom, why did you have to go to QFC, Metropolitan Market and Trader Joe’s in one morning?”
“QFC is for my normal shopping and Metropolitan carries my favorite milk. Trader Joe’s has my favorite cereal and they have things I can’t get at the other stores.”
At least she’s going during “senior hours” so the stores are less crowded, so I will give her credit for that.
My friends have also been saying that their moms seem to be spending quite a lot more time than normal grocery shopping.
So, for everyone complaining that millennials are having a hard to staying at home, please go check on your parents first.
Do you know where you mom is?