An Open Letter To The People We Potentially Exposed To COVID-19

by Anonymous
Originally Published: 
Woman shielding eyes by large green coronavirus
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty

Dear Newish Mom Friend I Want To Get To Know Better…

My daughter was exposed to COVID-19 at her summer camp last week. That Friday, after she had been around the infected camper, eating lunch and playing LEGO at close range for five days, we met you and your daughter at an outdoor playground for a playdate. We talked about our girls, our jobs, and our goals. We watched our kids get to know each other and hatched a plan in the ungodly hot oven that is a South Louisiana summer to visit the splash pad next time (if it wasn’t closed because of COVID). I’m sorry that my daughter’s exposure puts your daughter, and you, at risk. I feel like a shit mom. Yes, my daughter is fine so far, but I’ll keep you posted. You keep me posted too. Yes, I’ll try my best to not feel guilty, even though I do. Thank you for saying that. Thank you so much for your understanding, new friend. I’d like to get to know you better. Let’s stay in touch.

Dear Mom Friend of a Year Who is Like a Soul Sister I’ve Known for Ages…

My daughter was exposed to COVID-19 at her summer camp last week. That Saturday, after she ran around screeching in delight amid high-action Nerf wars with an infected camper for five days, we met you and your family at a local park for a socially distanced get-together in the blazing southern heat. We wore our masks at all times. We must have reminded our kids at least twenty times to “Pull up your mask,” “Put your mask back on please,” and “Back away a bit” from each other. We joked that this must be what school is going to be like in the fall (if it’s not closed because of COVID-19). We watched as our kids gave a show-stopping performance of “Cinderella” in the deserted outdoor amphitheater. We clapped excitedly for them, loving that after four months of quarantine, they were finally back together.

I feel like a shit mom. Thank you for reassuring me that I shouldn’t feel that way. I still do. Thank you for telling me you’re not very worried because we “were careful,” as if this was a discussion about whether or not there was safe sex. Thank you for asking how my daughter is doing and I’m glad to hear your kids seem fine right now. Let’s keep each other posted. I’m so glad to have found you, Soul Sister.

Dear Mom Friend I’ve Had For Years Who I Always Thought Would Understand…

My daughter was exposed to COVID-19 at her summer camp program last week. Two days later, after my daughter had launched herself up and down a DIY slip-and-slide for the ages next to an infected child she had been around for five days, we met you and your daughter at the beach. We made it a surprise, as your daughter was turning eight the next day and it had been too long since these girls had last seen each other. We thought the beach would be a relatively safe outdoor outing in the sun. We wanted to capture just a little glimpse of what a normal summer felt like watching our only children, tight knit since preschool, play carelessly without the weight of a pandemic looming. I didn’t know my daughter had been exposed. If I did, we wouldn’t have come. I’m sorry to bring this on you. I’m sorry to be telling you this. I know you’re a single parent. I know you have to work and that it’s hard to do that with no convenient childcare. I know the weight this brings on you. I hope you understand and I hope you know I can see things from your side. Your responses are curt. I can tell you’re angry. I hope you can forgive me for putting your child at risk. But please remember, mine is also at risk too. I thought you’d understand. I hope we can still be friends.

Dear Summer Camp Director of the Camp We Really Needed to Make It Through This Sad Summer…

Klaus Vedfelt/Getty

Thank you for being transparent about a camper being diagnosed with COVID-19. I appreciate your being forthcoming and letting all of us parents know. I’m pulling my child out of camp and we’re going to voluntarily self-quarantine. I have to make sure she doesn’t develop symptoms. I have to do what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are telling us all to do if we think we’ve been exposed. She might be back after the 14-day waiting period is up and we’re in the clear. Though I’m not sure I will be comfortable sending her back with the infection numbers rising … again. In any case, I understand this gym is your livelihood and that it’s not just a summer camp. You serve the community. You can’t close, you can only contain. I understand you’re doing your best to sanitize and keep the kids safe. I don’t fault you.

Dear Employer of the Job I Just Started and Love and Want To Always Do My Best Work At…

I’m sorry for missing my deadlines today. My daughter was exposed to COVID-19 at her summer camp program last week and I’ve been dealing with the fallout of it. My mental energy has gone to considering things like “Should we should all get tested now or wait for symptoms?” ”Who did we see recently that I need to inform?” “Does my child have a fever, because she looks run down?” and “Is that lump I’m feeling in my throat COVID?” I’ll try and catch up this evening, but later, that won’t happen because I’m exhausted from the mental anguish of the day. I’ll start fresh tomorrow and get up at 5 a.m. to get ahead on things. But I feel I should let you know my daughter will be home with me during the day, as I’m keeping her out of camp to self-quarantine. Please know this won’t distract me from getting my work done. I appreciate your understanding and, yes, I can be available for that Zoom call at 2. Thanks again. I really need this job and I am doing my best.

Dear Husband I’m in the Trenches of COVID-19 Parenthood With…

What should we do about this? Should we all get tested or should we wait for symptoms? Should you and I quarantine too? Will she be OK? Should I feel bad for putting her in a summer camp? Why do I feel like a shit mom? I wanted her to have a fun summer; a safe, but fun summer. And since we’re in Phase 2, I thought this would be OK. Our only child needs to be around other kids and the camp is taking precautions. Look how happy she is compared to being stuck at home alone in quarantine. I’m worried not just over her physical health, but also her mental health. Camp has been great for her. She’s a much happier kid. Now we have to take that away. I don’t know what to do. Am I losing my sense of smell? I’m hearing that’s a symptom. Are you? Let’s make dinner.

Dear Daughter Who Has Been Exposed to COVID-19…

You can’t go back to camp. You have to stay home for two weeks. Someone you know has COVID. I know this makes you upset. I understand that you “hate this summer” and that you will “always hate summer for the rest of your life.” I do too. And I hope our next summer is better.

Your first-grade year was abruptly cut short because of this invisible virus the world is fighting over right now. Is it real? Is it a hoax? Do masks work? We’re hearing it all. Your seven-year-old summer is just a glimmer of what it was supposed to be. And for that I’m sorry.

For the four months we spent at home, your dad and I were your only friends around. I know you were lonely. I know you were angry. I know you didn’t understand. Zoom and FaceTime didn’t, and don’t, cut it.

I don’t want to have to go back to quarantine, but I have to make sure you’re okay now that you’ve been exposed. I’ve never lived through a pandemic so I don’t really know what to do. There’s a lot I don’t know. But I do know that I’m trying to do my best and this is what the really smart doctors are telling us we need to do. I don’t want you to be scared of getting sick. Let me do the worrying for the two of us. Please don’t cry. Tell me how your throat feels. Let me feel your head. Let’s do something to take our mind off this.

I love you, kid. I want to protect you. You’re my life.

Dear Tired Me Who Is Just Trying To Do Her Best in a World of Uncertainty…

Your daughter was exposed to COVID-19 last week at summer camp. This…is dealing with the fallout. You are not a shit mom. You’re doing your best. And that’s all you can do.

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