A Happy Meal almost got me killed the other day.

I was pulling out of a McDonalds drive-thru having procured Happy Meals as the bribe, I mean reward, for my kids completion of their daily e-learning assignments, when I almost got broadsided by a truck speeding across the parking lot.

A few seconds later and my kids would have lost both their lunch and their homeschool teacher.

So what did I do after my brush with death in the McDonalds parking lot?

I went home, fed the kids, and loaded them up in the car so they could have their own brush with death.

No, we were running errands, but you get my point.

Driving is the single most dangerous thing we do. Like crazy dangerous. As in more Americans die every month in car crashes than died in the 9/11 terror attacks.

To put how dangerous driving is in perspective, only people who feed sharks for a living lead a more dangerous life than a mom who spends her days running car pool.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. But you get my point.

We all know how dangerous driving can be. We’ve all been in an accident (or at least come close to being in one). We all know someone (or lots of someones) who were killed or seriously injured in a car accident.

To this day I can’t see a church or school van without thinking about a high school classmate who was killed riding in one on his way to summer camp.

Yet everyday we get into our cars putting the lives of ourselves, our passengers, and anyone else we may encounter on the road at risk. And yes, I let my kids ride in church and school vans.

Why? Because we (maybe subconsciously) evaluate the risk, mitigate risk, and balance that all against the perceived reward.

We know driving cars can be dangerous, so we mitigate the risk by driving cars with safety features and practicing safe driving habits like not speeding. We balance that against the perceived reward (getting to work or school, bribing your kids so they will complete their school work) and make a decision. Spoiler alert–driving wins almost every time.

So why aren’t we doing this when it comes to making decisions in light of COVID-19?

I’m no medical expert, not even close. I avoided science like the plague (pun intended) in college opting for Astronomy and its trips to the planetarium to fulfill my 3 hour requirement rather than Biology. Couldn’t name a bone in my body other than the spine.

All of this to say if you are looking for actual medical advice, don’t ask me.

But thanks to COVID-19, we seem to be surrounded by medical experts. On the news. On social media. In our ZOOM happy hours.

Some with medical degrees, most without.

COVID-19 is scary. People sick and dying. People losing jobs. No vaccine, no treatment. So much uncertainty.

What is certain is we still need to make decisions. Going back to the office to work. What to do with the kids. Daycare and camps. Grandparents.

And the decisions we make? Don’t have to be the same as everyone else’s. And you’re not necessarily a bad person if you do something different.

I’m not going to tell you how to make those decisions. But what I am going to tell you is that you can make those decisions. You can evaluate risk and mitigate risk. You can make decisions that are different from other people’s decisions. And that’s okay.

On the grandparents issue, I’ve gotten some serious flack in my social circle for continuing to socialize with my 81 year old mother and a few other family members who don’t live in my house. I won’t go into details about what was said, but I will say my feelings were hurt as the implication was I was being reckless and careless. Apparently most people in my social circle are still not socializing with people who don’t live in their house.

Am I increasing their risk (and my family’s) of exposure by continuing to socialize? Sure. Have I mitigated the risk in my mom’s case by only socializing with her outside in her backyard and keeping a safe distance between us? Of course. Do I worry about the risk to her mental and physical well-being if she went more than a few days without meaningful human contact? You bet. In fact, to me that’s the greatest risk to her health.

And I think even Dr. Fauci would agree.

On the daycare and camp issue, so long as they are screening kids daily for any sign of illness, enforcing good hygiene and cleaning procedures, and spacing the kids out, my kids are going to go. Again, evaluating risk and mitigating risk, and balancing all that against the benefits (getting my bored kids out of the house and letting me get back to work).

I get that my guidelines are not nearly as stringent as the CDC’s. But based on my analysis, risks and benefits, I’m comfortable with my decision.

What have you decided to do about daycare, camps, and seeing the grandparents? Leave a comment or send me an email.

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