My New Normal

COVID-19 has had some impact—no matter how big or how small—on everyone in the world.

Whether it’s having to work from home, losing a job, not having graduation… everyone is dealing with the Coronavirus whether or not they actually have it. As a CB South senior, it’s been pretty tough knowing I won’t get the closure I needed as I move onto college.

As the daughter of a healthcare worker, my entire world has been turned upside down.

My mom is a nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (aka one of the biggest hospitals in the entire area).

The days following March 13th were some of the most cumbersome days of my life.

No one knew how bad Coronavirus could become in our area until it was suddenly just that: bad.

It seemed like overnight my mom suddenly became afraid to hug her children, afraid to sit at the dinner table with us, afraid to even enter our home. Finally, she decided enough is enough and she made the choice to move out for a while until things began to settle down.

Although I respected my mom’s courageous decision to isolate herself from her family and move into Philadelphia, I couldn’t help but feel a pit in my stomach as I realized my mom wouldn’t be with us for who knows how long.

As one of four, my mom was the mediator and backbone of the household. She would do the majority of the grocery shopping and kept everyone on track—she helped our family function. Not to mention, my mom is undoubtedly my best friend, and my rock. The thought of her moving out was terrifying.

On March 16th, my mom moved her stuff into her apartment; her lease was only for a month, but we knew she would be gone for as long as she felt would be necessary.

All at once I became in charge of the grocery shopping, making sure everyone was up for their online classes, making sure everyone ate dinner.

We would FaceTime my mom frequently, but it wasn’t the same as her being with us. As COVID-19 took more and more away from me as a high school senior, I found myself looking for my mom to comfort me–only to realize that COVID-19 had taken my mom away too.

This was the new normal, and I did not like it. The situation was rough, but I was thankful to have a mom who cared so much about her family and wouldn’t want to put them at risk of this awful virus; even though we couldn’t come in contact with my mom, she would still visit while keeping at least a 6-foot distance. While it was nice to see her face and hear her voice in person, all I wanted to do was hug her and feel like I had my mom back again.

Fortunately for me, that would soon be the case. After the first month of my mom being gone, things still weren’t looking too good at her work, so she decided to stay in Philadelphia for another month. Meanwhile my three siblings and I were at each other’s necks in good old Bucks County.

I would tell my mom constantly, “I wish I could just live down in Philly with you for a while.” And crazy enough… this wish came true!

My mom’s unit became very safe at her work—one of the safest, I’d say—and she became a part of a medical trial to discover what types of people have what reactions to COVID-19.

Every two weeks my mom gets tested for COVID-19, and we found out that she had no antibodies!

The highly anticipated arrival of my mom after learning she had no trace of Corona was like watching grass grow. When she finally pulled into the driveway you would have thought we hadn’t seen her in a year the way my siblings and I pounced on her.

Finally, my mom was allowed inside of the house. Finally, my mom was able to sit and have family dinner with us. Finally, our family felt whole again.

That night my mom invited me down to her apartment for a change of scenery and because we knew she wouldn’t be putting me at risk. We stayed up late talking and watching movies, and the next day we went on a bike ride around Philly for two hours with the sun smiling down on us. Being able to get outside and be in a different space made such a difference and really helped me during this tough time, but what helped me most of all was being able to be around my mom.

After two long months, my mom is finally back at home where she belongs. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that family and being surrounded by those you love is truly everything during a time like this. I am so grateful to have a mom who I can turn to for everything, but I am proud to have a mom who is a healthcare worker.