Gone are the days of celebrating each milestone with a car parade;
Of virtual wine tastings, virtual bingo and virtual trivia night;
Gone are the invites for Zoom birthdays, drive-in movies and reimagined outdoor events;
Of neighbors helping neighbors, meal trains and surprise bags at your door;
Gone are the days of virtual cookie-baking for the kids and feel-good videos made by choirs;
Of chalk drawings of support and dog walks to see a neighbor or friend;
And instead
We sit here isolating alone.
We argue about mask mandates, vaccinations and new policies;
We judge each other’s “COVID rules” and alienate one another accordingly;
We’re “over it.”
We get angry that the school’s rules are too loose. The school’s rules are too strict;
We stress about going to work. Working from home. Working with kids home;
We sit in fear of sending our children to school each day, just waiting for the email: Are they a close contact? Did they wear their masks? Will they have a teacher? Is school shutting down? Should I allow a playdate? Will they have friends? Are they OK?
Our best friends are our Peloton instructors, Nintendos and television sets;
We swab our noses. We spit in vials. We roll up our sleeves.
THIS is the new normal. But does it have to be?
There are days where I wish we could go back to the start of the pandemic;
And remember the feeling of, “We’re all in this together.”
The feeling of supporting one another through hard times.
We can do better.
As the world shuts down once again, let’s stop for a moment and think about what we are doing to each other.
Let’s spread more kindness.

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