Sunday, March 14, 2021
I know, I know, saying Happy New Year is usually reserved for January 1 and maybe for a few weeks following, but I feel like proclaiming it today! This second weekend of March marks the one-year mark of when Covid-19 brought most of the country to a screeching halt. I recall two memorable days for me last year at that time. I am including a couple of entries from a blog post I wrote last year here to illustrate my point.
Monday, March 9, 2020 – Xavier event at the Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland. This was the last “normal” day as we knew it. In the news that afternoon were the first 3 cases of Covid-19 in Ohio. Still very new, this news was a minor backdrop at the event, but surprisingly the event went on as normal. After work I met Zach and Mike for a Xavier Admissions Event. We had a blast, shaking hands with folks with no hand sanitizer in site, ate finger food from a buffet and chatted with the Xavier admissions staff. I was super proud of Zach for having such professional conversations with folks. This was our last chance to woo staff before tuition exchange decisions were made and Zach was stoked about the people he met and the opportunity to go to Xavier. We ended the night with Mitchell’s ice cream. A good night. Little did we know that would be the end of events like that for awhile.
I find that last sentence very eerie. We had NO IDEA that “for awhile” would mean a year and more. I’m really glad that we did not know the timeframe for this madness back then. I honestly don’t think our brains could have processed the information.
The other date that sticks in my memory was the last time we spent time (inside) with my folks later that week.
Friday, March 13 – Prom Cancelled. Went to work as normal, but it was like a ghost town. Said good-bye to tearful students and got in what I knew would be my last treadmill run for awhile with my girlfriend in the Corbo workout room on campus. We brought Clorox wipes with us to the empty gym and sanitized the treadmills before and after use. Right before going to run I got a text from Zach that just said “Prom cancelled”. I went to the locker room and lost it. I had been strong all week, helping students and taking care of business, but this was my breaking point. My mind begin to spin about what else might be canceled in my son’s senior year. Just so sad. Thankfully my buddy was there to comfort me and get it together enough to get our run done! My office worked out an alternating telecommuting schedule. That night Mike and I visited my folks for what I knew would be a long time also. We chatted and ate pie in their house, but at a bit of a distance.
This day is remarkable due to the fact that it was the first of what turned out to be many, or like ALL events cancelled for the rest of my son’s senior year. It also was the last time we visited my folks in their house. I remember talking about this new term “social distancing” with them and how that was the new catchphrase. Masks were not yet recommended or mandated at that time. As a matter of fact they were discouraged then. I remember having a conversation with Zach around this time and he was asking the question, “why aren’t we wearing masks”? Very prophetic, that kid.
From that point on we got through this year with one foot in front of the other. I want to acknowledge and hold space for the many, many, many people who have died from this virus and for their family members. I am so grateful for the medical professionals and essential workers who continue to put themselves in harms way to get us through this. I also am aware that we were very lucky to continue to have gainful employment though this time when so many have been negatively impacted by this financially. I am the first to admit that while have been in this together, we were certainly all not in the same boat, for sure. All that being said this year was pretty shitty for us too. We got through it, however, and still somehow managed to: celebrate Zach’s high school graduation, send Zach off to college in the fall in person, start a new job remotely (Lisa), make special, distanced, Christmas memories with family, communicate with loved ones regularly, and navigate a couple of family medical situations – one Covid related and one not. No one learned a new language or how to knit, lost 40 pounds, or completed all of those new jigsaw puzzles. There were good days and terrible days. We laughed, we cried – all in the same hour. We Zoomed wearing yoga pants and a work appropriate shirt. We walked the dog, and then walked him again, and again. We saved money on gas and spent more money on food and paper masks. At times, the days and weeks seemed to zoom (pun intended) by. Other times, it seemed like we were still stuck in March 2020. But at the end of the day – we are still here, breathing in and out.
Cut to today! As of this morning both Mike and I are fully vaccinated and it feels like we have turned a corner in so many ways. It is hard to believe that a year ago while we were madly buying toilet paper, frantically searching for hand sanitizer and wiping down our groceries with Clorox wipes no one grasped the frightening reality of the length of time this pandemic would last, the deadly impact it would have on our country and the world, and just how changed we all would be from this shared trauma. But today we have hope! We have hope not just for our family and our little corner of life, but for the whole country and world as we continue to roll out this massive, albeit imperfect, rollout of the vaccine program. We don’t know exactly what “normal” will look like in the future, but we know it will be better. What will I do in 2 weeks when I’m fully protected by the vaccine? I’m glad you asked! Am I planning a trip to Hawaii or the Bahamas? Nah. I just want to sit on the couch and have dessert and coffee with my mom and dad at their house. After the most gigantic hug, of course, without a mask. We might even blow New Year’s Eve horns!