My family is very familiar with cruising. When my dad retired, my parents decided to start taking us on wonderful cruises. My son, Landon, has been to some fabulous places in his life thanks to my parents’ zest for traveling and love of family. I took this selfie last summer in the waters of The Bahamas. Since Dad passed four years ago, Mom has taken us all on more cruises; making memories matters to her more than anything. She’s traveled a lot with some of her friends from her church. Traveling is her passion.
Back when I was in my final semester at SDSU, my boyfriend would come to visit. He was a New Zealander who I met while traveling in Europe. Marco and Mom would sit and talk for hours about his world travels. She was captivated by him and his stories. Their energy matched, as he was a gentle and patient man who listened to every word someone said with focused attention. Mom is the same.
Soon after that, Mom decided to enroll as a travel agent. Prior to her job being CEO of our household raising four children, she worked as a secretary. Then, when it was necessary for her to work again, right about the time I started school, she was Father Joe’s secretary when he was just beginning his mission to help people impacted by homelessness in our city. Her family CEO role was always most important, but over the years she worked until she finally had to stop for health reasons.
Not working and having most of her chickens out of the coop resulted in Mom getting bored. So, inspired by her desire to travel the world, Mom enrolled in travel agent school. By then, I was working at a Club Med resort in Florida and when she came to visit she was so excited to tell me all about her new life adventure.
Over the years, she’s loved helping people travel. She enjoys being knowledgeable and having firsthand experience to share with them.
What nobody knows about my mom is that whenever she’s organized a group trip and there’s a discount provided for the travel agent, she doesn’t take it for herself! Instead, she equally shares it with every person on the trip — providing everyone with a discount or incentive. She may take a (well-earned) upgrade to a nicer room for herself, but she pays the same thing as everyone else in the group.
That’s my mom! Her motto is, “Travel is an adventure.”
Well, she’s having an adventure right now — due to the pandemic known as COVID-19.
Today is Thursday. It was exactly a week ago when I dropped off my son at school and then opened an email from my brother about Mom and (cousin) Ed’s cruise ship being all over the news.
As the hours progressed, my instincts triggered to a heightened alert — not just for my Mom and Ed, but for everyone. For my son! While I’ve been super positive and sharing the accurate information of what Mom is experiencing, that Thursday shifted me into saying these words on repeat to myself and my dear friend Jennie: “This is so bad. This is going to be really bad. This is so bad.”
Doing a deep dive into what was manifesting in the Bay Area, Italy and beyond, I decided my only option was to prepare. I spent most of Thursday and Friday gathering what Landon and I would need should we hunker down to avoid this thing — even going immediately to Game Stop on Friday afternoon when Landon told me the microphone on his Xbox headset wasn’t working to get him a new one.
After more state and global research, combined with my primal lioness instincts, I woke up Saturday morning and decided we’re staying put. Mama and her cub protected.
Mind you, it was only one week prior when I messaged with a friend about the funny song adaptations that were flying around about coronavirus — Neil Diamond’s parody being the funniest to me.
I wasn’t laughing anymore.
On self-quarantine lockdown way ahead of the curve brought forth a visceral response within me. In the coming days, I took a firm stance to protect my son. I made tough decisions that ultimately disappointed people and made some angry. But I wasn’t going to waver because I sensed what was coming — what was already here. And I couldn’t let my son near it. Crazy or not, I was not taking any changes with my son’s good health or mine.
I even called the superintendent of the LMSV School District directly requesting something be put in place for parents to have the option to keep their children home without recourse during this uncertain time. Who does that? This mama! Within hours, I had a solution for Landon.
Hunkered down. And all the while, staying positive and encouraging as my 76- year-old mom is within the “adventure” of her traveling life. I’m focused on a positive outcome for her and Ed.
I’m focused on a positive outcome for my son and me.
I’m hopeful for a positive outcome for us all.
But bottom line is this: the best way to not get sick from this thing that’s taking a rapid hold of our society is to put some serious space between yourself and others. Now. Do the research!
And honestly, my point of view is this. We have a moral obligation to keep each other safe. In my opinion, it is hugely irresponsible to have any gathering of any size right now. People being around people is how this thing spreads. Period. I’ve canceled everything. I can’t be responsible on my watch for anyone getting sick. My focus is on keeping my son and me safe, as well as helping my mom through the uncertain journey she’s on. I share this with the hope of awakening your primal instincts to do what you need to do.
Parents, a lioness doesn’t seek counsel from the tribe. She isn’t wishy-washy. She doesn’t wait to see what others do and then make a decision for her cub(s) based on the consensus. No. She simply protects! Her primal instinct is to keep her loves safe no matter what. This hasn’t been up for debate. I haven’t cared what anyone thought — and trust me, I’ve encountered opposition! But this lioness has only one job and I’m doing it.
When I was on hold with the CDC last Saturday for over 40 minutes, one sound bite I wrote down that was said on its looping announcement was this: “You are the parent. You make the rules.”