We are opening back up here. Slowly. At the speed of a turtle. Make that a turtle in its shell, but it is happening.
Some want a faster open, some want continued closure. Some say it is time to get on with it, others would wait until the last coronavirus micron has been eradicated.
We have become a nation of armchair quarterbacks. We will all know what the perfect decisions would have been after some imperfect decisions have been made.
Sounds of traffic from the interstate reverberate on our patio in the early mornings. Traffic is picking up. Select businesses are coming back to life, while others are poised and ready, waiting for the green flag.
Hardware stores, along with lawn and garden stores deemed necessities, have been open all along. We passed a family-owned nursery the other day and saw their parking lot filled. Overflow cars lined the street.
Tucking annuals into spring soil, planting tomatoes and peppers, oregano and rosemary, are affirmations of life. A declaration of better days to come.
Social distancing guidelines are easing. It has been two months since we have hugged a grandchild. There are so many factors to consider. For starters, we are in a high-risk group. I was as shocked as anyone to learn this. I was reading about risk factors one day and called out to the husband, “Am I elderly?”
“You’re over 60. Yes! You’re elderly!”
When did that happen? I still feel 17 inside.
We have a nephew, young and strong, who got the virus and was sick several weeks, flattened by extreme fatigue. The parents of classmates our kids went to school with got it. They were hospitalized, released and recovered. Elderly parents of an acquaintance both caught it. He survived, she did not.
The pandemic is a complicated equation with many variables.
Social gatherings of 25 are allowed where we live. Still, caution abounds.
On Saturday, I dropped some things off at our youngest daughter’s house. Her little girls were outside chalking the sidewalk and running circles in the grass. Their “baby” is our youngest grand. She turned 2 last month. We had wished her happy birthday through a plate glass door.
She’s talking up a storm these days, saying words like quarantine, “pandemica,” and corona.
The toddler and momma invited me to walk with them. So we walked. Apart. She’s so young, I’ve often wondered what she remembers about us. Then she took her momma’s hand. I saw it but pretended that I didn’t.
Her momma said, “We’re not against holding hands, Grandma.”
As if on cue, that chubby, silky soft hand reached for mine. It was a mix of emotions, joy for the moment and sorrow for the many losses that have swept the world.
Of course, when our walk was over, we all resumed obsessive-compulsive hand washing.
But for a moment, I held the promise of better days to come. Slowly, but surely, they will.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.