Dear Savannah

Dear Savannah,

This week has been hard.

Your first 4 months of life are during a quarantine and it’s scary.

I remember when they first started talking about the Corona Virus, I was hyper focused on finding an online job so I could continue staying home with you. I wasn’t worried about it, I mean they were saying the flu was killing more people each year so even though thousands of people were dying in China, don’t be scared. So, I wasn’t scared. Looking back, we were all insane to ignore the blatant signs. How did it get this far? It’s all different now, even though it’s only been two months. Never in my life could I have anticipated that this would be the world you’d be born into. I feel like we have done our very best to navigate this new world for you and make the best of out an impossibly difficult situation. We have cherished every moment we get to share with you, knowing that in the old world would be few and far between because of our jobs. You know me and your papa so, so well, which is such an amazing feeling. But you don’t recognize anybody else. It’s been too long since you’ve seen familiar faces. You don’t know anybody in your extended family yet. That part has been on heavy on my heart this week. We had your 4-month appointment last week and your pediatrician talked to me about “stranger anxiety,” which was something I had never heard of. He said that babies at some point start to understand when they are being held by someone they are unfamiliar with and usually start to cry because they are scared. As I saw you begin to scream when he was holding you, he pointed out that because you are isolated from this quarantine, you are experiencing it really early on. It usually begins around 8 months for babies, but you’re only 4. I didn’t really know what to say, it’s harder taking you to these appointments now because your papa has to stay in the car – only 1 parent in at a time. He always remembers to ask the important questions. I pray that this doesn’t affect your relationships with the people close to us.

Your cousin was born this week, which is such a blessing. Me and your papa got to see her through the car window yesterday and she is so incredibly precious, looks just like her mama (your Aunt Sarai.) You both are basically the same age and it fills my heart to think about the relationship you guys will have. I wasn’t close to any of my cousins growing up so I’m so happy you get this. I want so badly to take you to see your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents. You have great-grandparents! How rare that is. I want so many things right now. I want to take you to the park and the coffee shop that’s right down the road from us. But I’m racked with guilt every time I take you outside. I want to spontaneously cough in public without getting dirty looks. Most of all, I want to go outside and make eye contact with people passing by and smile. But you can’t see smiles from behind masks. And it seems like people fear that even a look will pass on the virus now. I’ve tried really hard not to focus on these little things the past couple of months because my postpartum after having you was so, so difficult – I just can’t go back to that. But it seems that things aren’t going to change anytime soon. So, they’ve been slowly seeping into the forefront of my mind. This week has been hard. I just want the world to be ok again.

Part of me is glad that you will never remember this period in your life. It will be in textbooks and you will learn about it in school, learn how COVID-19 hit the entire world by force in a matter of weeks, killing millions. But you will be able to say, “I was only 4 months old when that happened. I don’t remember any of this.” I think I prefer it that way. I just hope that we all come out of this stronger, wiser, and with an abundance of empathy so you can be proud of the America you live in, of the world you live in.

This pandemic has shaped me in a way no other experience can. I have gotten to know myself extremely well and I can see where I have grown and where I have fallen short. It has also allowed me to really think about the values I want to share with you and what kind of mother I want to be for you. Here is where I’m at right now – I want to teach you that compassion should always be on your mind and in your heart. That knowledge is power – remember that, no matter what people say, educate yourself.  That fear can sometimes blind people enough to change their beliefs but stick firm to yours. Beliefs can drive a wedge between some relationships. It’s ok, forgive them anyways. Put your trust in God, and he will give you strength when you feel you have none left.  And never forget that your mama will always, always protect you. You baby girl are the reason me and your papa are going to get through this. We don’t know when this quarantine will be over or what your world is going to look like when it does, but you will be ok. We will all be ok. We just have to take this one day at a time. Together.

Love, your mama

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