Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Saturday was our daughter’s birthday. It’s rare that we don’t spend the day, or part of the day with her to celebrate, but this year we did not. The reason, I would think, is obvious, but that didn’t make it any easier.

this photo from a couple weeks ago of
our daughter Kathryn with our Great
Grandchild Sophia!

It takes discipline to stick with the self-quarantine program. Discipline for the entire family grouping. We’re a close family, always have been, but there are times when what you need to do is simply too important for that thing not to be done, so you pull up your big girl panties and you go do what needs doing…. or in this case you refrain from doing what you’ve always done.

This quotation from Elon Musk really hit me. I first saw it the day before Katy’s birthday and I was thinking about the fact that we weren’t going to be seeing her on her special day. Musk has put this expression to test a goodly number of times; he’s a great deal more flamboyant than Peggy or I but mavericks seem to be the people who get things done in this world and there’s a lot to be said for this simple, straightforward statement. No fuss. No excuses. Just get out there and do what needs doing and worry about the consequences afterwards. A great many silent heroes are doing that right now, as I write, as I sleep, all day tomorrow, and the next day and the days and weeks, and yes, months to come. Putting their very lives at risk; and we know a significant number of them will pay a heavy, if not final price for their constancy and faithfulness. In the meantime some of us are called on to sit on our butts and stay out of the way — or at least to stay away from contagion.

Today, I was saddened to see two photos taken this afternoon at one of our state parks. They were both photos of state park parking lots. And both lots were filled nearly to capacity with cars. This, in a state where people are supposed to be sheltering-in-place. I know that families with kids are feeling the pressure of kids with lots of energy wanting to be out of the house and active, but I can’t help but feel, indeed I know without a doubt that a great many of those cars were not the cars of families with kids — they were simply singles and couples and small groups who simply wanted to do their own thing in spite of pleas from authorities for help in lowering the contagion curve. My heart bled.

“There is one thing humans can always do. We can always find a reason to do whatever it is that we want to do. It matters not that authorities are asking us to consider other humans and cooperate by limiting our harm to others simply by staying away from people; for some people it’s too much to ask them to consider others. They will always come first and they will always have a plausible excuse. And they will never think that there might be times when it is good for them to give up something that they want so that someone else might not suffer.”

Yesterday Peggy worked on a jigsaw puzzle, I did some reading and surfed the Net for a while. We enjoyed being home, we laughed a little, we spoke with our daughter by phone, and we enjoyed being alive. Life doesn’t have to be complicated for us. When we were younger we were a lot busier, but I trust that we would have tried to shelter as asked. I don’t know for sure that we would have but everything in our life tells me we would. I know for sure that we will be doing so for the forseeable future. This will not be over in two weeks. Nor in two months. I’m not even sure how much of the summer we may get to spend at our summer place — or whether we’ll go there at all. Right now a great deal is up in the air. And it’s possible for us to simply wait and see. I know it’s hard to do that when you’re young. I know some personalities are unable to do it at all. And it saddens me.

But, hey, I can’t live their life for them. I can only live mine. And I’ll try not to be the cause other people get sick. It’s the least I can do.


2 thoughts on “Absence makes the heart grow fonder

  1. Due to my hubby’s fragile health we are well used to staying at home. It’s been good practice for present circumstances. My heart does go out to the extroverts and the social butterflies who seem to have a great need to be with others, I think this is harder for them than for those of us who are more introverted.

    It is my daughter-in-law’s birthday this week and I know we will not be able to do any of the usual or even be in the same room together, which is painful. However, the greater good must be considered. Sometimes we are all called upon to make sacrifices, something, I think, our generation is much better acquainted with. Perhaps not, but that is the sense I get.

    At any rate, Peter, kudos to you & Peg for doing what is necessary, even though you had to miss celebrating the birth of your daughter. May God bless you & yours and keep you all healthy and safe.


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