As I sat on the phone with each of my four adult children, I became pissy with what felt like overblown concerns about my safety. I’m not an invalid, I’m perfectly healthy with no compromised immune system, and I’m not “that” old. Then, they reminded me of my true age (67), and the targeted group for this coronavirus to wipe me out. My scheduled trip to Austin, Texas, to be present for the birth of my second grandchild was now, in their opinion, out of the question.
For the past eight months, I’ve planned for this sacred event. I slowly cleared my calendar of real estate clients, told my dance parents I was canceling several classes and had my bag packed for weeks.
It was a trip I was excited to take, something vital to me, something I longed to do. I’m a grandmother now, and no one can save the day like this Grammie! If I couldn’t go, how would they survive, especially after the pandemic arrived?
And despite the fact that my doctor felt if I were going to go, I should leave immediately, I’ve never seen so much angst pouring out of my kids in my life. Listening to each one express their fears, I sat back flummoxed. After all, I haven’t had the flu in years, and only get an occasional cold. This was a considerable sacrifice they were asking of me, and one I didn’t want to make. Then, like a frying pan hitting me over my head, I saw the light.
They weren’t asking this because they wanted to control my life, but out of love and concern. They wanted me to stay safe.
We’re living in a frightening time. People are out of work, and those still in the trenches – sanitation workers, delivery services, grocery and drug store clerks, doctors, nurses, firefighters and police, and so many others – must be exhausted, as well as scared. They’re on the front lines keeping our lives moving forward while exposing themselves every day. It’s dreadful, and it has hit everyone! No one is immune to this monster, and it may take not months, but years to recover.
Since I received my marching orders, I’ve hunkered down. My tiny apartment has never been so clean, I caught up on all the TV shows I rarely see, including binge-watching Netflix, I drank a lot of wine and I have a new best friend in Zoom conferencing, which has kept me up to date with family and friends. I’ve painted more, gotten back to my writing, started sewing again and hit my knees in prayer more than I have in years – begging this ends soon, that few lives are lost, and when this subsides and we go back to “normal life,” that we learn the art of human connection again. While painful, I do believe the Divine is asking us to slow down and get back to who we were born to be, integral parts of the whole universe, not just a bunch of subsets, with kindness and love.
So, back to my kids and their concerns: I’ll do as ordered and stay put for now (“for now” being the operative phrase). I’ll take the necessary precautions, wash my hands until they’re raw, and order online any household supplies. And should I go to the grocery store, I’ll wipe down my body in Clorox before and after I put on my hazmat suit. I’ll be a good girl for my loved ones, and for the planet, as I do my part to keep others, as well as myself, safe.
You’ve asked me to make a huge sacrifice, the biggest one yet, and while difficult, I’ll do it because you love me. God knows I love and adore you.
What are you being called to sacrifice in these tough times?
Jackie Madden Haugh is a long time Town Crier columnist.