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A Good, Clean Spring Break

Happy Easter Monday! Today, vaccine eligibility in Michigan extends to all adults!! Those vaccines cannot be rolled out quickly enough here in Michigan, currently the #1 state to catch coronavirus. Michigan's infections have blown up over the past month, reaching the height of last fall's surge with no sign of turning a corner yet. Many people are so mentally done with the pandemic that they are living in complete denial by now, traveling for fun and getting faced in restaurants and bars and socializing sloppily with pretty much anyone, while our state and local governments live in fear of violent uprisings against any new public health measures, so vaccines are our only hope. My parents and my husband will soon receive their second shots, and I hope to get an appointment for my first shot soon. However, our preteen daughter won't have a vaccine available to her age group (which is leading this current surge) until next year. So while we are celebrating, we're being good and conscious-clean with small, safe kinds of family fun that don't put our whole community in peril. 

And we don't mind at all! It's not really that hard, especially after a year of adaptation behind us and clear expectations ahead of us for when each member of our family can be vaccinated.

Our daughter probably won't see the inside of a friend's house until well into 2022, but by the end of this month, she'll be able to "bubble" with her fully vaccinated grandparents. Meanwhile, we still allow her to play outside, masked, with a small set of neighborhood friends. When the weather isn't nice, she can rely upon her rich network of online buddies (mostly classmates) on Roblox and FaceTime.

For my parents especially, that moment when they are two weeks past their second vaccine dose and we can combine households again--indoors, unmasked, with real hugs!--is going to feel like the long-awaited breaking out of a shell. My daughter's world will expand from the bitty eggshell of our home plus brief, strictly masked and distanced school days down the road to include the still-cozy but airy "nest" of her grandparents' house a ten-minute walk through the neighborhood. My daughter, my husband, and I will all be able to have dinners together with my fully vaccinated parents, unmasked movie nights, and ping-pong games in the basement. My daughter can spend the night at her grandparents' house whenever she likes.

That will be a big change from how we are living now, and we will have no problem keeping all of our safety practices in place for the next couple of weeks, and lift them in scientifically reasonable stages as more of us get vaccinated, to avoid the possibility of blowing the whole past year of care and negligently exposing our daughter to the possibility of permanent or long-term harm to her health. (Even asymptomatic kids very often develop Long Covid symptoms after infection, and I believe that every sacrifice we make to keep our child--and everyone else in our community--protected from preventable chronic health conditions is important.)

This year's spring break is another quiet one for us, and that's great! I just realized that this is the first year since our daughter was born that none of us in our household has had a single cold, flu, or case of the pukes for a full calendar year. I won't miss going back to that. Meanwhile, we are a loving family with a fun interpersonal dynamic, so we don't get too lonely. We also have Wi-Fi, Easter treats, warm weather for gardening, fine days for small family bonfires and cookouts, and beautiful mornings of birdsong and gorgeous sunrises. The day will come soon when we're fully able (and thus, socially obligated) to do a lot more hustling and bustling, but not yet. 

We still get to savor this sweet spring without all the chaos of pre-pandemic life crashing down all at once. We'll get our hands in the dirt but keep our noses clean. I want to give myself, my whole family, and, especially, my ten-year-old daughter a chance to make it all the way through the most dangerous stretch of the pandemic (which, for our family in our location, is right now) and live out many, many, many more years of life with all the freedom, excitement, success, and pleasure that good health allows.

I hope you'll be alive and healthy enough to enjoy the rest of your life when all of this is over too. Maybe I'll invite you over for dinner and share my new quarantine cooking skills with you.

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