Living in the time of COVID-19, for me, is like running hurdles at a track meet.

At the starting blocks it is pure energy. The runner is a tightly coiled rope that snaps out at the sound of the gun. The race starts out normal, like other foot races at the meet, but the runner knows this race is different.

They see the hurdles.

Over years of practice they know they need to prepare for that first jump. Their steps are perfectly timed for the next hurdle.

They soar through the air with what looks like grace and ease but is really practice and determination.

But one hurdle is lopsided. The height of the metal bar is uneven — slightly higher than what they practiced for and expected.

While the runner soars across this hurdle, their leg nicks the bar and they are thrown through the air, landing in a tangled mess of arms, legs and metal. They skid across the track and blood and pain escape through a scream.

We were going through life at our normal pace. We easily flew over our everyday hurdles of work, family, money, kids. Then, we hit a hurdle that we weren’t prepared for — the pandemic that is COVID-19.

This caused us to stumble over the first hurdle, the reality of the pandemic. But all of the next hurdles were higher, lopsided or not correctly positioned.

School cancellations, social distancing, Stay-At-Home, distance learning, working from home — each of these hurdles has caused me to stumble and fall, repeatedly.

But running hurdles is a mental as much as a physical sport (from what I remember from 15 years ago!).

So far, I have been able to overcome the majority of our COVID-wonky hurdles. A big one I am still working on is the uncertainty and fear surrounding pregnancies and newborns.

Our baby mama is nearing the end of her pregnancy. As far as I know, she is healthy but what if… I wish I could wrap her in bubble wrap and bring her home where I could watch over and protect her. But she is an adult and we have a complicated relationship. That bubble-wrapped daydream is not practical.

I can hope and pray that she has a safe pregnancy and birth and that she and my children’s sibling is healthy, but that is it. I don’t have control.

Similarly, my sister-in-law is also due in a few months.

My brother and his family live in Germany. Their first child was born on Halloween and although it isn’t her due date, I hope this one comes on the Fourth of July.

My sister-in-law is a pediatrician. She is an essential worker and I know she is taking all the precautions seriously but what if…

That is a loud ellipse (...).

“How do I get over that?” I asked my husband just now while refilling my coffee.

He hugged me. “You just jump.”

Just keep jumping. Just keep jumping.

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