The virus is forcing harsh restrictions on families, but kids can honor their parents as everyday heroes.
Social distancing is necessary to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but like many remedies, it can have some unpleasant side effects for our personal relationships and families.
I’m lucky enough to live on the ground floor of the building where my parents also live, but as a precaution we’ve decided not to have physical contact, to avoid the risk of infection. To say hello to them, we go out to the yard and they go out on their balcony. It’s heartwarming to see my two-year-old daughter repeatedly stretch her arms up and pretend to hug her grandparents.
Luckily, my daughter can hug her daddy and her mommy, and our physical contact is unchanged. Unfortunately, it’s not like that for everyone, especially for the children of healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.
”Dear Mom, I miss you so much! I miss your hugs, your kisses …” This is the beginning of a letter that Irene, an 11-year-old girl, wrote to her mother, a nurse at the hospital in northern Italy, according to Italian news site Vivere Senigallia. What a sacrifice, when parents and children—especially little ones—cannot hug or kiss or even touch each other!
But this heartbreaking restriction has become a self-imposed rule for doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers of all kinds working at hospitals where coronavirus is fought—which at the moment includes practically all hospitals. Exhausted as they are after very long shifts, healthcare professionals have to enter a kind of home isolation because of the risk of infecting their loved ones.
This is a huge additional price they pay for their mission of treating patients suffering from COVID-19. The same rule—perhaps in less strict terms—applies to law enforcement officers, and to staff in supermarkets, where we’re all forced to go for our food needs.
Here’s a translation of the text of the handwritten letter that the little girl from Senigallia wrote to her nurse mother, as published by Vivere Senigallia. The photo shows the letter written in true 11-year-old-girl style, using colored pens, emoji stickers, and frequent all-caps, which we won’t imitate here, for ease of reading:
“Dear Mom, I miss you so much I miss your hugs your kisses all those things of yours that we can’t have when you’re away. All your cuddles! And also to being close to you and feeling protected, to fall asleep knowing that you’re next to me! Don’t think I feel better than Emma, at least her mom doesn’t go out at night. These nights I feel far away from you, because when I wake up in the morning I can’t fill you up with kisses but only stay away from you. The nights you’re there I can’t be near you, just stay in other rooms as if you weren’t there. This coronavirus is why the world is suffering, and you and your colleagues toooooo much! But nevertheless, you are a warrior, you are strong, brave! When this is over, I’ll fill you up with kisses. I love you infinitely! From your puppy Irene M. P.S. Remember that this situation isn’t your fault. You’re a heroine!”
The letter progresses from the girl’s personal experience of separation and her poignant need for contact, to her putting herself in her mother’s shoes, sharing her mother’s emotions, and relieving her of her understandable sense of guilt.
Now it’s the mother’s turn to write a letter in reply to her daughter, and although we will never know its content, we’re sure that she is proud of her daughter who is showing a maturity and compassion beyond her years in the face of this difficult situation.