Perspectives: A struggle and a blessing

Jaime Detzi, Chatham Education Foundation
Posted 4/24/20

My husband Chris and I have three kids in the Chatham County Schools — in 5th, 9th and 11th grade. While I realize I am coming at this pandemic from a place of privilege as far as income and …

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Perspectives: A struggle and a blessing

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My husband Chris and I have three kids in the Chatham County Schools — in 5th, 9th and 11th grade. While I realize I am coming at this pandemic from a place of privilege as far as income and relative job security, from the perspective of a mom it has been both a struggle and a blessing.

First, the fear. Right before schools shut down, both of my asthmatic kids were diagnosed with the flu, even though testing negative. One ended up with croup within five days and the other with pneumonia within one day of diagnosis. While I trust my doctor’s diagnosis of flu, and Tamilfu did seem to work, verifying that it was not COVID-19 would have given me so much comfort. Due to testing shortages at that time and state parameters on who was tested, we were unable to test either of my kids.

No clarity, no closure.

Move forward a few weeks and my middle child comes down with a cold. Mind you, she had been doing only three things I would think could expose her to a virus. One, she went to the dentist to have a tooth rebuilt that she broke on the trampoline. Two, she went to Walmart with me once. Three, she was allowed to sit outside — six feet away — from a friend. One week after having a terrible cough and sore throat, she was diagnosed with bronchitis. Going on the third week she is still coughing, but finally on the mend. Once again I called to get her tested and was told she could not get a test because she did not need to be hospitalized, and tests were being saved for those that did. No clarity, no closure.

However, as we move forward with the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, I am finding some silver linings in uncertain times. Our three kids are spending more time together than ever! They have had to use their imaginations to bring themselves joy in a time when they just want to be out with friends.

My husband and I have the pleasure of spending enormous amounts of time with our teenage daughters, which never would have happened except for the stay-at-home order. And their little brother has enjoyed every ounce of attention they currently have time to provide him. While enjoying this time with them seems almost selfish, since they would rather be ANYWHERE else but home, I will not let this time go by without a true appreciation of these days with my kids.

I miss my friends, I miss my parents, and I miss my co-workers, but keeping my kids safe, and being at home is what is best for us now. So each day, we will try to find our silver lining while understanding that many others are alone, hungry and out of work. We will continue to spend time organizing food delivery to teens at Pollard and Northwood through reFUEL and face-timing grandparents daily. We wish each of you sanity, safety and prosperity during this time and hope to see you out in the community soon.

Jaime Detzi is a 10-year Chatham resident and the executive director of the Chatham Education Foundation and co-founder of reFUEL (the backpack meals program for Pollard and Northwood schools).


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