Food, COVID-19, and my Mother

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Food, COVID-19, and my Mother

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My mom raised her children around food. She made sure everything revolved around it just like the Earth revolves around the Sun. We ate whether we wanted to or not, as food was her way of showing love. Mom is now in her late 70's and still works miracles in the kitchen. When we visited my parents' house (pre-pandemic), she fed us until we could not eat anymore, then declared we were still hungry and loaded our plates with more. That is what Mexican moms do, she always says. Even though we protest, my husband, kids, and I love it.

All of this changed once COVID-19 hit. Worried about my parents catching the virus, we did not see much of them in 2020. When we did, it was from a distance in their backyard and not for very long. It took an enormous toll on my mom. My parents cannot visit with their children and grandchildren, but almost just as worse, my mom has no one to cook for but my dad. Although she still enjoys cooking for him, it is not the same. Although we all know what food means to her, none of us realized just how much until this pandemic hit. Normally, she is rarely sick, loves to hike, and enjoys going to aerobics with her friends. However, lately, she has felt melancholy, is getting headaches, and is sleeping more. This is extremely unusual for her, which has us all very concerned. This pandemic is wearing on her both physically and emotionally. This feisty woman is slowing down, which is scary to us all.

Over the past year, we continue to tell her we want to come over but would never forgive ourselves if we unknowingly pass the virus to her or my dad. Mom did not and still does not understand. She just wants what she wants, which is her family surrounding her. My dad is much more pragmatic about this situation, but mom will not have any of it. She is incredibly frustrated and is not afraid to tell us about it.
Luckily, both of my parents just got their first dose of the vaccine last week. My dad said this gives them renewed hope that their family will be together again soon. I hear this hope when I speak on the phone with my mom. She is ready to get busy again in the kitchen. I cannot wait to eat her homemade tortillas straight off the stove, her spicy chili, and all of her other tasty dishes.

People are now talking about the 'new normal.' I do not want a new normal. I want to get back all that this pandemic has taken from us, including my family crowding around a table full of my mom’s food.

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This item was submitted on January 24, 2021 by R. Keagle using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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