CINCINNATI, Ohio — Malls are now open in Ohio. Restaurants, salons and barbershops will be allowed to open with restrictions starting Friday. But as the state slowly starts to reopen, there are Ohioans who say they'll be staying at home like Cincinnati mom, Katie Hodge, who has an autoimmune disease.
She says it's been tough but her family will mostly continue to isolate themselves.
For three weeks, Hodge who is a seamstress says she couldn't bring herself to sew a stitch.
"I was so stressed with all of the new scary things going on," she said. "I couldn’t really wrap my mind around the idea of sitting down with fabric."
Now, this stay-at-home mom of two is busy doing what she can to help others through the pandemic.
"I’m making masks right now like just about everybody else who has a sewing machine," Hodge said.
When news of a stay-at-home order hit her Cincinnati suburb, Hodge says she was naive about the experience ahead in the coming days that have turned into weeks and have crept into months.
"The first week of quarantine, I’m like 'I got this, I’m a stay-at-home mom this is what I do all day. I can be alone with the kids all of the time,'" Hodge said. "What I did not realize is how much I leave the house!"
Church, the library, lunch with friends and grandparents, stops at the fabric shop for her are now all off-limits.
"What a learning curve there’s been to entertaining my kids all day without being able to really go anywhere," Hodge said.
While Ohio has begun the reopening process, Hodge is leery and can't afford to take any chances as a type one diabetic.
"It’s autoimmune so things like this are always a bit bigger risk," Hodge said. "I always get my flu shot. If I got the flu I could easily end up in intensive care. I’m afraid that I’ll get it and be in ICU away from my family. They won’t be able to see me I won’t be able to see them. Or that my kids will get it and I won’t be able to be there with them."
Hodge like most loving parents wants to absorb all feelings in her home of isolation and anxiety to shield her 5-year-old twins Abbie and Sam from the crisis our world is now in.
"Anything you can think of to do to stay connected, to remind your kids of who is out there loving them and they still love them even if they can’t see them," Hodge said.
Video chats and sending paintings to loved ones through the mail are a few ways they're tightening connections and stitching even stronger bonds together.
"They know something is up and they sense our anxiety so if tempers are short if kids are clingier or needier just give grace and understand that this isn’t easy for anybody," she said.