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First It Came, An Ode to Corona Virus COVID-19

This is not a post for bilingual families. This is not a post for stay-at-home moms, or moms of three, or moms Guatemalan by marriage. This is a post for all moms (and dads!) everywhere, who are just trying to hold it all together in a world that has turned completely upside down in just over a week. It was a Chinese virus, a Chinese problem. Then it was an Italian and Iranian problem. And now, it’s a pandemic and everyone’s problem. The Corona Virus, COVID-19.

It reminds me of the famous Holocaust poem by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller “First They Came.”

Well, here’s the new version. “First It Came”

First it came to Wuhan, and I still went out, because I wasn’t Chinese. 

Then it came for the Italians, and I still went out, because I wasn’t in Italy.

Then it came for the elderly and the immune-compromised, and I still went out because I was young, healthy, virile, and ignorant. 

And then it came for me, and there was no place left to go. 

For some reason, Americans as a whole think we are invincible. I know that’s a grand over-generalization, but we see wars, famine, and sicknesses overseas and we think our industrialization and technology can somehow protect us from everything. But COVID-19 has taught us just how vulnerable we are as a nation, and as a world. It has not only stolen the lives of 18,810 and counting, it has halted air travel, closed schools and retail shops, caused the stock market to plummet and online shopping to skyrocket, and resulted in mass shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. 

175 million people in 17 states26 counties and 10 cities are being urged to stay home, the Barrios family included. 

Yes, we have food and water toilet paper and wifi, but that doesn't make mandatory social distance quarantine easy, especially sequestered at home alone with three kids underfoot. We are all embarking upon uncharted waters. We are worried about how the quarantine will affect our 9-year-old's school year, how it will affect my husband's landscaping business (our only source of income for this year), and even the two-year-old and baby are feeling the effects, wondering why we can't visit the library like we usually do, or go to our weekly outing to the mall. 

The virus has completely upended our lives and our schedules, and it's okay to not feel okay. I pride myself in having everything all together all the time, but COVID-19 is something I have no control over. And that scares me so deeply. But the one thing I do have control over is myself and my family. For that reason, we are adhering to the social distance quarantine to the best of our ability. Although the idea of being cooped up in my house for the unforeseeable future sounds torturous, we have our health, as so even on the longest, hardest days, I have to be thankful for that. I've seen twitter posts that say something like "Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this." Obviously that person doesn't have three kids! But in all seriousness, we can do this. It might be hard. It might try our patience. But the best way to keep all of our friends and family safe is to just stay at home and wait it out. Only then can we flatten the curve, and protect as many lives as possible. One day closer to infinity. 

Good luck and godspeed! 


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