Wash your hands. Why? Because I said so. Wash your hands! WHY? BECAUSE I SAID SO. WASH YOUR HANDS! WHHHHYYYYY? Because you don’t want to get Ebola.
It was just the other day that I actually heard these exact words come out of my mouth. As with most moms, reminding my children to wash their hands is an ordinary occurrence in our life. But recently, it has taken on a life of its own. While I am nowhere near panic mode, you could say that I am teetering between a heighten since of awareness and gerMOMphobic.
The constant stream of news outlets providing frequent updates on the confirmed case and unfortunate death of the first person in the United States to contract the virus who happens to be right here in Texas, has certainly contributed to my angst. Now that there is a second confirmed case, I can’t help but to wonder what happens next and how do I protect my children?
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how different of a world my children are growing up in compared to when I grew up. I was well in to my adult years before I knew or understood what a terrorist was. Unlike today, when I was growing up, there were very few reports of children who were missing from their front yard. In many ways, I am saddened that today’s children will only know of a time when everyone boarding a plane must remove their shoes and be subject to a body search.
I am disappointed that my children will never know the excitement of hanging out at a friends house all day, only to dash home just as the street lights are coming on. I am also concerned that it may become commonplace for my children to wear masks when in large crowds, as if it were a normal accessory. I have spoken with my boys in great detail about the importance of washing their hands and being extra careful when touching items that are in public places, but I do I have to admit that I have greater concern about many things in general but when it comes to Ebola, my fear is that the health officials and local authorities are really making this stuff up as they go. For the first time since becoming a mother, I am questioning my ability to protect my children against things that were never a concern for me as a child.
Children today, have so many things demanding their attention. Which means the role of a parent has also increased. Not only do we have to prepare them for life, we also have to protect them from the many things that life may present. So until the officials can get together and decide how we are to go about our daily lives with Ebola, I am committed to reminding them as many times as necessary to wash their hands, cover their cough, and try not to touch certain items while in public places.
What conversations are you having with your children that weren’t needed when you were growing up?