I got to see one of my chicklets yesterday.
To be honest here, this shelter-in-place thing hasn’t really changed my life all that much. I am an isolator by nature; I constantly crave more time alone, in my house, with no social obligations, and no schedule.
If I could take away the threat of loved ones starving, losing their shirts (or homes or businesses) or dying, this would be the ideal existence for me.
Except for one thing: I can’t see my mommy or my boys.
Mom is a million miles away, but my babies are just 30 miles from here, together, and I can’t get my hands on them.
It is really hard on me to be living through this sketchy, scary, uncertain time and not be able to protect or at least care for my children. I just want to get my hands on them so much – I need a squeeze from their big boy arms.
I need the opportunity to criticize their choices, question what they’re eating, tell them that their bathroom needs cleaning.
I need the opportunity to be their overbearing, too involved, co-dependent mommy.
It’s a killer.
I’ve thought about going to their place to sit in their parking lot and yell up to them on their balcony. I’ve considered bringing them food to place on their doorstep.
Honestly, I’ve thought that I would break quarantine to get my hands on them. I mean, really, if one of them gets sick, I’m going in, so why not do it now?
And of course, I understand the implications and risks involved with that impetuous move, and therefore, have not driven over the hill to serve my selfish needs, instead, making do with a phone call here and there.
But, yesterday, this one and his sweet live-in gal pal stopped by my cabin just to get some face to face time.
(And to pick up a package for the girl that arrived in my PO Box, but I can pretend that they came all this way just to see me.)
It was so so good to see them, but it was hard, really really hard, to stay 6 feet away. It simply feels wrong to socially distance myself from my child. It feels wrong for a mother, this mother, me, to stand back from my own child, to view my own flesh and blood as a potential enemy or for me to be a risk to him.
The sense that we are all living with right now – the sense that anyone we see could be toxic to our own well-being, or worse, that we could ruin someone else’s life just by existing – is too much when it comes to my babies.
It simply goes against nature.
I had to fight my instinct to cuddle, nurture, connect with, and feed this person for whom I’ve been caring for 23 years.
At one point he stepped towards me, momentarily forgetting that we can’t hug, and I instinctively stepped back, as if he were a threat.
That moment was hard. Sad.
Before they stopped by I wasn’t sure that I wanted to see my kiddos because I don’t want to have to socially distance myself, and I wasn’t sure that when one of them was right in front of me, I would have the inclination, will power, or even desire to stay 6 feet apart.
And I was sorely tempted to go in for the hug.
And then I considered TAM, and my co-workers, and TAM’s co-workers, and the gal at the grocery store and the liquor store and the pot shop and at the trailhead where I run; I couldn’t, in good conscience put them at risk.
And vice versa, I couldn’t put my son, his girlfriend, and all of my other chicks who live under the same roof, at risk.
And instinctively, involuntarily, I stepped back from my boy and instead, washed my hands.
But, while it sucked, it was also fantastic to have one of my own, at my home, in the flesh, smiling, laughing, healthy and well even for just an hour.
The natural instinct is to physically protect my boys, and their loved ones, by wrapping my arms around them and bringing them in close.
But instead, I need to honor and act on that instinct by keeping them all at bay.
So, I sent them on their merry way, hug-free, each with a roll of toilet paper tucked under their arms.