Harry and Olive, I’ve had a fully composed post saved in my WordPress account since soon after we returned from Charleston, South Carolina almost two months ago.
It was a little “braggy” since I mostly planned to spill on how easy it was to travel with one parent and two kids (spoiler, It’s because everyone feels sorry for you and wants to help make the journey easier).
I wrote it just as the Covid 19 pandemic started to explode into our consciousness, and I just never got around to doing a final edit, since a light hearted post about travel and privilege seemed insensitive given our current state. We had no idea at the time that all the sights and attractions we visited would soon be shuttered, flights grounded, and most notably, millions of people would be out of work.
This includes your Uncle Scott and the rest of the South Carolina Stingrays hockey team, who we had the fortune to watch play three games before their season was suspended for the purpose of infection control. This left your Uncle bound for Connecticut and then Illinois with Katie, and now, Mio and Papa’s basement. He is currently serving his two week quarantine and then will await the borders re-opening to non-essential travel.
One last trip before lockdown…
We spent a night in Seattle while transiting between flights, as well as a layover on the way home. Both of those visits occurred during the first clusters of Covid 19’s arrival to the United States, and in the city where those clusters occurred. Olive, you even returned with your first cold, one which me, your brother, and later your Dad all caught from you. I didn’t take your symptoms very seriously at the time, but with the progression of this virus and my current hindsight, we checked a lot of boxes that should have made us more cautious on our return.
I questioned my decision to take you kids off adventuring without your Dad. I could have waited for a time that was better for him to travel, or gone later in March with your grandparents and Auntie Stef and Uncle Derek. It was a bit “extra” of me to even go on a decently large trip in the first place, since two months after our return, we were bound for an even bigger Europe trip that had been in the works since last summer.
I’m happy now I took the opportunity so see somewhere new, and to share a bit of my best-loved-activity with my best-loved-kids. Had we planned to go any later, our trip wouldn’t have proceeded. You both did so good, and were a pleasure to travel with. I got to visit with Uncle Scott in a way that I haven’t ever, since as adults we haven’t ever actually found ourselves in the same place just the two of us.
Our Europe trip is obviously a no-go, and though cancelling was an easy decision to make, I still grieve the loss of something I was so excited to do with all of you. The “cloud” continues to mess with me, since the calendar on my laptop is synced with my email, as well as my other devices, and I get a little choke in my throat with each trip related reminder. The top right corner of my screen right is currently informing me that tomorrow we are due to check in to the“Orange Tree Yard”AirBNB rental in Tomar. Its a booking that was made by your Dad and I after a week of comparing sites, areas and other rentals before deciding this one was the “most perfect” for all our needs.
That “New Normal”
I’m fine though, we’re all fine, and a different kind of privilege is settling in. Your Dad and I still have our jobs, we live in a rural area that has not experienced any sort of pandemic “surge” (yet).
I remain on parental leave, and because our month of travel is no longer happening, your Dad is home for the month with us too. We’ve had waffle breakfasts, magnatile-building marathons, and outside yard play. This will be the summer that we do all the “house-things” we’ve put off, and at this rate we will have a killer “Corona- garden” (as well as a fancy shed renovation).
My latest challenge has been to secure top soil for my garden beds, since evidently, the greater population has also identified gardening to be a great way to fill this newly-acquired spare time. Who’d have thought gardening supplies would become such a hot-commodity?
I’m holding memories of Charleston closer now, because in the absence of other experiences, they’re now more precious. The ability to travel anywhere outside our region is something we won’t take for granted after all this.
Everything is cancelled, and we can’t go anywhere, but we are together, we are safe, and we have the privilege of time together.