Over the past few weeks, things have been unusual for all of us. Things have been especially strange for my wife and I, who welcomed our first child, and our parents’ first grandchild, a little over two weeks ago. We were fortunate enough to have been at the hospital just before strict measures regarding visitors went into place, so some of our family were able to see us and meet our new son, Parker. However, before we headed home, we were advised to essentially quarantine ourselves to avoid exposure to COVID-19. My wife and I are extremely fortunate to have jobs that allow us family leave and, when that time passes, will allow us to work remotely if necessary. Accordingly, since we returned home, we’ve stayed put. Parker has only met relatives over FaceTime and through our closed front window. It all feels like something out of a disaster movie.
In Parker’s first two weeks of life, my wife and I anticipated visits to his grandparents’ homes and chances for his aunts and uncles to hold him. We also imagined the opportunity to see and interact with other adults and to get out of our house. Instead, with the exception of a day of yardwork, a short walk around the neighborhood (where it was difficult to get others to respect the recommended six-foot social distancing perimeter), a trip to the pediatrician, and a trip to the grocery store (for curbside grocery pickup, of course!), we have been inside our home for the past 14 days. We have had the comfort and convenience of food delivery and Netflix to get us through the days, but it is mentally and physically draining to be trapped in our home during an already exhausting time. And while we enjoy sharing photos and FaceTime calls with family, we can feel their disappointment at not being able to see and hold our baby.
We have friends and family who are experiencing similar hardships, like having to postpone their wedding reception and livestream their wedding ceremony so guests could watch from the safety of their homes. The sacrifices we are all making (by staying home if we are able, by social distancing, by thoroughly washing our hands and being mindful of what we touch) are necessary to protect our own health and, more importantly, the health of the more vulnerable folks in our community. Although, right now, we might not be able to express our love for one another by giving a friend a hug, dancing at a wedding, or handing our new baby to his abuela to be rocked to sleep, we can show that we care by being cautious and managing the spread of this deadly disease. We can make up for lost time by getting together when it is safe to do so.