I vividly remember the first time I heard about "coronavirus." It was a gray winter morning, not long after the new year had begun, along with my fear of war with Iran. The news around that had quieted a bit and we were, as always, on to the next thing. It was a powerful, moving episode about a family in China expressing their feelings of grief and outrage. I remember my eyes filling with tears once or twice, trying to keep them from spilling over so that my daughter wouldn't be alarmed.
"Mommy?" came a small voice from the backseat. I could hear the question before she even asked, could feel the certainty of it in my gut. "Is that going to come to where we live?"
I don't recall exactly how I answered her. I know I did my best to answer her truthfully while also reassuring her and helping her feel some control. Probably something like, "Nobody can say for sure, but it's far away right now. Doctors and scientists are working really hard to understand it and do everything they can to keep people healthy. What are some things you can do to keep healthy?"
We talked about hand washing and covering sneezes and went to school.
"Why did you lie?"