FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – “I think [our children] consider us role models and they look up to us,” said Meghan Marshall, a CVS pharmacist who has led by example by making sacrifices for her young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. “All kids look up to their parents. We want them to do good in the world and make a difference.”
Marshall is not the only one making a difference in the family. Her husband Roby also works on the frontlines as a pharmacy technician at a local Rhode Island hospital.
Professionally, the couple always puts patients first. Personally, they always do the same with their children. To prioritize everyone’s protection, they made the difficult decision to send their twin eight-year-old sons and 10-year-old daughter to live with Meghan’s parents during the pandemic.
“Roby’s job is the one that's closest with COVID,” said Marshall. “That was really the driving force to make our decision 10 weeks ago, because he would be more susceptible to bringing it home. I work in an office setting, but Roby would be on the floor with patients.”
Ten weeks ago, as the severity of the coronavirus increased, the Marshalls sent their children to live with their grandparents.
“My mom had kept talking about it for a while,” said Marshall. “My sister had offered. Then when the schools announced that they were closing for the week, I called my mom and asked if the offer was still there. It made me nervous because my parents are in their 70s so they’re at higher risk for COVID, but we knew that the kids would be safer there rather than having me and Roby coming in and out.
“Plus, we would have to find a babysitter to have someone work with them on virtual learning. Our daughter is in fifth grade and the boys are in second grade, so that’s a lot of schoolwork that needs to get done.”
Luckily Meghan’s parents, both retired teachers, had relevant resumes to step in and assist with virtual learning.
Originally, the Marshalls told their children they would be staying with their grandparents for a week. However, as the pandemic unfolds it continues to lengthen their visit.
“It’s hard on them,” said Marshall. “They don’t see their friends. The boys aren’t playing soccer, and Grace isn’t in Girl Scouts right now. To them, that’s everything. It was all taken away from them.
“We FaceTime them every day and message them just with a nice good morning, trying to keep it upbeat because I know they miss home.”
Not only is it hard for the kids, but it’s also difficult for their parents.
“We both have our moments,” said Marshall with regards to their feelings over the past 10 weeks. “The boys’ birthday was hard. They were so excited about turning eight.
“Mother’s Day I found to be even harder. I got to FaceTime them, but it wasn’t the same. I wasn’t looking for wining and dining. I just wanted my family.”
It was inevitable that the Marshalls missed their children even more on those special days, but luckily, New England Revolution striker Adam Buksa had a surprise to help lift their spirits.
Originally, Marshall had reached out to the Revs to ask if a player could send a video wishing her soccer-crazed sons a happy eighth birthday. When Buksa caught wind of the situation, he upped the ante with a surprise birthday Zoom call and four tickets to a future Revs game when MLS play resumes.
“That was shock!” said Marshall. “I was just looking for a happy birthday, just for a bright spot in the boys’ day. They are still talking about it. They said it was their best birthday ever and that they talked to a real soccer player! I thought that was cute that they called Adam ‘real.’
“They wanted to go to the game that day. I said ‘no that’s for when they can have fans in the stadium again.’ They were just like ‘mom that’s so cool! That’s so cool!’ It was very generous of Adam.”
Meghan and Roby Marshall are healthcare workers in Rhode Island. They made the difficult decision to send their kids to their grandparent's house in NY, to avoid exposing the kids to COVID-19. Their twin boys turn 8 today, so Adam Buksa surprised them with a special gift! #NERevs pic.twitter.com/clbRfcTRmo— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) May 4, 2020
The newly eight-year-old boys would have been to their first Revs game on May 16 this year, when Columbus Crew SC was set to square off against New England at Gillette Stadium. However, thanks to Buksa, their first experience will now be one that they will never forget.
Anticipating their first experience at Gillette Stadium also helps lift the boys' spirits as they await their reunion with their parents.
“We both went into our careers because we enjoy giving to patients,” said Marshall. “We’re teaching our kids also that you have to make sacrifices for others and you want to help people. Hopefully that’s the message that they come away with.”
Under these difficult circumstances of COVID-19, it’s important to help people however you can, and that’s exactly what the Marshalls are demonstrating to their children.