Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

I Miss My Students

I miss them all. I miss the quiet ones, the loud ones, the eager ones, the sluggish ones, the class standouts and the class clowns, and every one in between.

I miss my their smiles — the wide-open ones, the small, sheltered ones, the barely-there smiles, and the gummy, toothy grins,

I miss their drama — the boyfriend/girlfriend kind, the hair’s-a-mess kind, the math-is-hard kind, the parents-just-don’t-understand-me kind.

I miss their stories — the dog-ate-my-homework, the truck-wouldn’t-start, the baby-brother-cried-all-night, the forgot-it-on-top-of-my-best-friend’s-car stories.

I miss their creativity. The artwork that brings me to tears,the presentations that give me goosebumps, the insights that blow me away.

I miss them bargaining over who’s gonna make the Quizlet, arguing over who gets the comfy chair, debating over which is better: Sweet Chili Doritos or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

I miss the small groups of dancers, ball players, and poets who convene in my room fifteen minutes before school every morning.

I miss my first period’s scramble to fit Stalin into our daily discussions and their impromptu Phineas and Ferb theme song serenades.

I miss my eighth-period gaggle of multicultural girls, chairs mashed eight-strong at a six-person table.

I miss the quiet kid in fourth period who whispers when he says a single word, and the rowdy one in second who has an Irish blush to his cheeks and a soccer jersey on every day.

I miss the boys named after Texas cities who stroll into class with their lanky legs and sheepish grins, and I miss the girls named after the seasons, with their calm, soothing ways and hopeful promise.

I miss my daily bear hug from my husband’s D-lineman and the sweet side-squeezes from my beloved Chipper girls.

I miss the red head who proclaimed himself “Testiculous the Great” while studying the Roman poets, and the mop-head who loves Joe Mama jokes.

I miss 10th grade boy humor.

I miss the dark, quiet beauty with the light dusting of freckles and the penchant for writing stories. I pray she’s doing okay.

I miss the awkward goddess full of frizzy curls and goodness who’s got no idea she’s a goddess yet. I pray for her confidence to continue to bloom.

I miss my golden-haired seniors with laughter in their spirits and spitfire in their souls. I pray their sunshine and lightning always stays.

I miss my students and I pray for them all. All my precious, quirky, needy, independent, oh-so-capable students.

These kiddos are inheriting the earth very soon — an earth currently coping with and recovering from the likes we’ve never seen. But they have what it takes. They have sunshine and lightning. They have passion and gumption. They have humor and grace and whimsy and wit. They have everything it will take to get through this and to get this world to a better place.

I miss my students, and I pray for them every day. Every. Single. Day.

the magic (and power) of words

Whether being driven to the Jitney Jungle with Mom or into the presence of God with Dad, I learned from a young age what words could do. My mother was a music major, and when she sang “Ave Maria” in the car, she opened up their magic. My father was a self-made preacher man and when he prophesied in our living room, he unhinged their power.

And while some people prefer the power, I prefer the magic of words. And believe me, there’s a world of difference.

Magic is revealed. Power is wielded. One shows itself to you. The other strips you bare — or does its best. Enlighten. Or ensnare. That’s what words can do.

And lately, against my better health and judgement, I’ve been caught up in the contagious power of words. In the feverish state of negativity running rampant right now. I’ve grown flush with fear and anxiety. Words have wielded their weight on me, and I’ve wielded out weighty ones of my own. And my recent blogs have been a result of that fever. And I’m sorry about that.

That’s not usually who I am. I’m generally an eternal optimist — an alchemist who tries to turn iron into gold. To dig around in the dark till I find the dawn. But social and news media’s words of contagious power got me.

Thank heavens a good friend recognized my symptoms, cautioned me against getting caught up, and prescribed the appropriate cure: Books.

In my cul-de-sac cult days, when things went all catawampus, I read books to escape. Words with magic to counteract the words of power being catapulted at me. Books sheltered and shielded me. They took me away from my reality.

Emily Dickinson, who self-cloistered for nearly her entire adult life, still enjoyed getting away from the four walls that both protected and penned her in. By reading.

She claimed “there is no frigate like a book/ to take us lands away,” and I agree. And what better thing to do while we’re self-cloistering (so much more poetic than “social distancing”) inside walls that protect and pen us in, than set sail on the pages of a book?

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, has been my cure. It’s helped me rediscover the sweet magic of words again, which is what I desperately needed. But it’s also helped me remember the sweet magic of this universe and my part in it.

Gilbert’s words are positive and playful and they encourage us all to find the “strange jewels” planted in our souls by the universe. Some of us will rise to the challenge of unearthing those gems, she says, and some of us are content to sit back and let them simmer unseen.

These last few weeks, sitting at home on my couch, its been easy to turn slack and cynical and to leave the magic simmering somewhere. But her words are nudging me back toward action and light.

Big Magic’s subtitle is Creative Living Beyond Fear — and that’s exactly what I need right now — a way to move beyond fear and into a positive creative state. To go on my spiritual scavenger hunt to find the words truest to me. Words of love and inspiration and persistence.

Because words are my hidden jewels. My magic. I love to twirl them like pinwheels till they flicker and flash. To sharpen and shape them into glittering strings of paper dolls prose. To fling them like stardust into the nebula of my brain and see what riches take flight.

I need to remember to play with them again. Not wallow in them. To relish in their magic, not fall beneath their power.

And if you feel the same way, I highly recommend you giving Gilbert’s Big Magic a read.

She’ll help you find and reclaim your birthright.

feeling vulnerable

I’ve been trying to write about my feelings as we all maneuver our way through this insane path our lives have all taken. I feel like it’s good for my mental health. But today, I’m feeling pretty darn vulnerable. But I think it’s important I get it all out.

More and more days lately, I’m feeling like a failure. Have I done enough? Given enough? Been enough? To the ones I love? To anyone at all?

I’ve dedicated myself to raising children and teaching students. Of that, I am proud. But I don’t think I’ve done a very good job. There’s still so much more I could have given.

More patience. More attention. More lessons. More love.

And now, I’m tied to my house and I’m tired.

I woke up last night thinking I had the Corona. My back was stiff. Was it my lungs? Were they feeling brittle? Was I short of breath? Was that a vibration I felt in my solar plexus? Was I having chills? Was this the beginning of the end?

And if not of my physical health, what about my mental health? I’m an introvert. The first couple weeks of this whole stay at home thing weren’t so bad. If I’m being honest, I sort of liked it.

But now… now, I’m really starting to miss my daily routine, my students and their smiles, my coworkers and their sarcasm. My weekly trips to Kroger, my favorite table at my favorite Mexican restaurant.

I woke up this morning, thankful. Thankful the soreness I’d felt in my lungs is simply a knot under my shoulder blade from yard work, not the virus.

But still. I can’t shake this feeling that I’m just not good enough. Not good enough to mother my sons 24/7 with no break. Not good enough to be a good friend and daughter from afar. Not good enough to teach students remotely. Not good enough to write anything folks might really want to read. Not good enough to make any sort of difference in a pandemic.

Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine. They say Newton discovered gravity. And me, I can barely do laundry and dinner, get dressed.

When life is at its normal pace, I can fake it pretty well. I can hustle and bustle and smile and teach, and I can be fairly efficient and fairly decent at most of it.

But when things have ground down to this — to slow motion replays day in and day out… I don’t hold up under scrutiny. All the errors appear.

When the days are stretched taut the threads will pop, the weak will unravel. I am a mousy, mulish mommy no body really wants.

My boys are in love with their daddy. They’ve never seen him so much in their lives. It’s like a carnival and he is their favorite ride. He carries them on his shoulders, drags them from his ankles on their bellies down the hall. He puts together their new bikes, blows up their new pool, and spins their world at his fingertips. Just like he does mine.

Me. I’m just me. Still here. Like I always have been. Tired and true, but nothing special.

I have children in other states who love me, but they’re grown with lives of their own. Time creeps and time flies. And I, I barely make a dent. Now more than ever it’s obvious.

This whole pandemic thing has me in an existential crisis, I know it has. Trying to figure out exactly who I am and what I’m worth. And whether or not any of it really matters. Coronavirus has so much power over my life, my thoughts, my loves right now. Everything I am and everything I do is so inexorably wrapped around it… and all of it, and all of us, are so very vulnerable.

I am a daughter of two seventy-something parents. Vulnerable. I am the niece of medically-fragile aunts and uncles. Vulnerable. I’m the mother of four children, two grown, two in the nest. Vulnerable. I’m the wife of a good man who loves us all really well. Vulnerable. I’m a teacher of 167 students I haven’t seen in three-and-a-half weeks. Vulnerable. And thousands of students over time I haven’t seen in some time. Vulnerable. I am a writer of essays and blogs and a novel in the works. Vulnerable.

I am all of those things. But who am I really? And is any of it really good enough?

I’m trying, but I’m tired. These slivers of day pulled taut and endless have me tired.

But I will keep going. Keep loving. Keep teaching. Keep writing. And maybe one day, it will all be enough. Maybe.

That’s the thing with existential crises… you really just never know.

pale and partly-cloudy self-pep talk

The morning breaks slowly, pale and partly cloudy. Kind of like me.

I’m sitting on my porch again, just after seven. This is where I go to center myself. To search for some light as the light starts to rise.

The sky is a watercolor gray with clouds of torn batting. It’s lighter there by the river and there’s no fog today. Except in my mind.

A crow calls. Harbinger of death. Three geese honk as they wing across the sky, heading north, the palest blush of pink stirred up by their wings .

The morning rushes forward, stalked by the caw from the crow and the pink pales as soon as it forms — soaked into the anemic dawn. Pale and persistent.

Kind of like me.

A friend tagged me in a post last night — a call to build-up-womankind kind of post. I’m supposed to search my phone for a solo pic and give a shout out to all my girlfriends. But there’s a problem. I support my womenfolk, have no doubt about that… but I have no solo pics. Just half-hearted selfies.

And I’m having trouble building up when I’m so down today. The night was unsettled. I tossed and turned. Had terrible dreams.

Even now, my mind is unsettled and tosses and turns. My thoughts, they’re dark — they’re gritty and moldy and dark.

Kind of like me.

I haven’t done my hair in weeks. Worn anything more than foundation (as sunscreen) in the same. I feel ugly and sluggish and sad.

Apparently, the feeling’s contagious. My plastic flamingos sit in clay pots on the back porch with nothing to embellish. No greenery. No flowers. Flanking emptiness. Their heads and bodies sag forward.

Kind of like me.

My youngest just came to the porch to tell me he doesn’t deserve his allowance this week. He stayed up all night. He couldn’t sleep. He’s feeling the darkness like me.

I pull him into my lap. We snuggle close beneath the soft blankets piled onto my lap while I write.

His little chin points downward, the sweetest little point on his heart shaped face. A heart shape. He is the shape of my heart. As is his brother, his sisters, his father, his aunts and uncles and grandparents and teachers and all his mama’s friends.

There’s my light. There’s my way.

I have no solo pictures because I am so much more than just me. I am a mother, a teacher, a wife, a friend. I am surrounded by love.

And with all that love — even from a social distance — I can do this hard thing.

We can do this hard thing.

We can lift up our sagging, drooping heads and project and protect and proclaim.

This world is still beautiful. We are still beautiful. We are guardians, we are embellishers. Our hearts are the pink and perfect harbingers of life. Of something worth showing off.

Pale or no, we are persistent.

diary of a prayerful dawn

I’m sitting on my porch this morning, the morning sliding in on silver moth wings over the river, and I’m trying my hardest to find the good. The silver lining. The moth wings on sunrise in the wake of all the darkness.

It’s 37 degrees. Fog lies heavy over the river. The trees are twisted in shrouds of gray. The grass in the neighbor’s lawn is slathered in dew. The birds are trilling their way towards the day.

And I. I am trying.

But yesterday was hard. And the day before. And the day before. I need, we need, all of us, all of humanity, need some miracles.

My daughter has been furloughed. Dentists’ offices are hard hit right now. All those mouths, all those caves of corona potential. So she’s home, on unemployment, for the next ninety days. It’s not the same. Nowhere close. And she’s nowhere close for me to help with much more than money. And while money helps, it just isn’t the same. We need the storm-to-be-calmed kind of miracle.

My other daughter. She’s working a floor where I just learned of multiple confirmed and presumed positive cases. And for the last ten days, she’s made rounds there with no masks. Checking patients without proper PPE — because hospitals are forced to make tough choices right now. Sacrificial choices. Rationing protective gear for higher risk areas. Because no matter what we hear from the oval office, there just isn’t enough to go around. We need a fishes and loaves kind of miracle right now.

And my students. We learned yesterday we won’t be returning to school. Not to the building, at least. And while on-line learning is taking place, it’s just not the same. I want their faces. Their boundless energy. Their spirited answers, gentle ribbing, and endless jokes. Their impromptu sing-alongs at the end of class. I want their contagious joy and youthfulness. I’ve aged a gazillion years in the last three weeks and I cried a gazillions tears yesterday afternoon. We need a water-into-wine miracle.

All the children of mine — and they are all, indeed, mine — are hurting. When one hurts, I hurt. When they all hurt… the pain is unbearable. We all need a healing miracle.

And then there’s my boys. Blissfully unaware, blessedly naive. They hunker down with us here in our home and relish the privilege of having us 24/7. And it is definitely a privilege. I know that. There are so many parents out there worrying over kids home alone without school, without supervision, without food, without support. We need a feeding of five thousand times a hundred thousand miracle.

There’s so much worry and uncertainty. I don’t know how much more of all this hurt I can handle before I break. Before we all break. All of us.

As I type, the sun just keeps climbing the sky, gilding the leaves and banishing the fog and cold. As I type, my phone alerts me to the multiple overnight submissions from my beautiful students, gilding the hardness with resilience and grace. As I type, my youngest son cracks the porch door, eyes twinkling from his fresh, springtime sleep and gives me a smile.

And as I type, I pray.

I pray for a miracle. I pray for life to return.

I pray for an Easter miracle.

on pollen and this pandemic

It’s almost April. In Georgia, the sun is warm, the breeze is balmy, the azaleas are bursting to bloom. Trees are erupting in celadon halos, one after the other, scattering their dander far and wide. It settles on truck beds, on patios, on skin.

As I sit on my back deck, a hawk rides a thermal overhead, while all around me bees buzz, crows caw, wasps flit, dogs bark. The air is alive with life.

It’s also alive with COVID-19, floating unseen and unheard. Until it’s not. Until the coughing starts. The fevers mount.

My husband mows for the first time this season, dry dusty Bermuda silt floats in his wake, catches on the currents, dissipates in the breeze.

And so goes the virus… spittle and nasal exhaust swirling behind one person and into the unsuspecting path of another as they search the aisles for that ever-elusive toilet paper, their weekly ration of milk.

Eyes water, throats burn, lungs react. Is it the pollen — or the Corona?

How crazy is it that so much death and destruction can be carried in the same currents where so much evidence of life still swims?

If we could detect the virus the same way we can detect the pollen, there’s a high likelihood none of us would be out in public unless we had to be… needed to be… for the greater good. Like those heroes out there facing the public, willingly walking into the invisible wake of this pandemic to help their fellow man. They are selfless and intentional.

And we need to stop being selfish, intentional or otherwise.

We need to stop being stupid. Stop taking for granted the lives of the first responders, the nurses and doctors, the grocery clerks and food service folks, the heroes of this world as we now know it.

Not all of us are susceptible to pollen, but we are all susceptible to COVID-19. And at this point, we’ve all been impacted. If not with the virus, then with the fall out of the virus: lost incomes, lost school years, lost loved ones, lost life as we knew it.

As of this morning, more than 124,000 Americans have contracted the virus, and 2,100 Americans have died. Infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci predicts millions of cases in our homeland… and over 100,000 deaths.

It’s’ not all gloom and doom. We have beautiful spring days, full to bursting with new life. So I choose to revel in the earth’s breathtaking beauty. I’m enjoying my backyard, my driveway, the woodland path with the violets sprouting underfoot…

But these days are also full of breathtaking danger. So I respect that danger. I avoid my neighbors, my family members across county, the siren call of social gatherings and the false sense of security because it’s warm and gorgeous outside.

It’s so easy to convince myself that all is right with the world.

But it’s not.

Stop being selfish. Stop being naive. Stay out of the wake of this pandemic. So that more of us may wake tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and eventually we may wake to a more normal world once again.

Stay Home. And Stay Healthy, my friends.

the pancake also rises…

I woke up this morning and almost forgot it was Saturday. All the days are running together like over-easy eggs in a plate of gravy and grits. It’s one big hodgepodge of messy, maddening, fattening days.

So I settled into my morning coffee and began browsing this month’s Southern Living — it arrived yesterday, along with all its “South’s Best” lists.

All it managed to do was make me sad. Page after page of restaurants and resorts, gatherings and get-togethers. And we can do none of it. None. Nada. I can’t take a little road trip to try out the catfish joint outside Oxford or sip the craft cocktails in Savannah. But I can pretend.

And since it is, indeed, Saturday, I decided to pretend I’m visiting a well-established flapjack joint in Euharlee, Georgia. My persona is a traveling journalist for my favorite monthly magazine. So, without further ado…

If it’s Saturday morning in the Candela Kitchen, there’s pancakes on the griddle and bacon in the skillet. Head chef Heather’s been flipping hotcakes for over a quarter-century now, initially for her two growing daughters, but demand grew. Now she feeds a couple of growing kindergartners and a 300 pound Asian football coach. That’s a whole lotta pancakes.

Pancake Saturday is a tradition steeped in southern hospitality and warm Kroger syrup. Chef learned a long time ago, it’s not the cost of the ingredients, but the love put into the making.

As the dishes clank incessantly,the bacon sizzles tantalizingly, and the boys fuss occasionally (who are we kidding, those boys fuss incessantly… At least until they eat. Then all is right in their quarantined world), the pancakes rise.

Yes, that’s right. Rise.

Blame it on Joanna Gaines. It’s her recipe. And it’s the best pancake recipe this particular Chef has ever made. (By the way, she uses bacon grease and a touch of butter, adding even more wait time so the bacon can cook… but Holy Sweet Mother of Baby Jesus.)

They’re fluffy. (Like “so fluffy I could die” from Despicable Me fame. On my honor.) Which makes them well worth the worrisome wait.

Especially because the hush that falls over the Candela clan for half a hotcake second is quite possibly the only sound of silence that will be heard until next Saturday morning rolls around and Chef once more rolls out of bed so the pancakes can rise again.

And so it goes. Ad Nauseam. Chef’s 10th lit students recently learned this Latin phrase and now they’re living it. Talk about real-world application. (Hey, chef is also a teacher and she does what she can.)

So since we’re all stuck… er, safe… since we’re all safe here at home, how’s about we all share our favorite home cooking traditions from around our kitchens in this glorious United — at a safe, six-foot distance,of course — States.

Please. Please tell me your stories. Let’s tour each other’s kitchens and taste each others traditions from the virtual safety of our screens. And maybe, just maybe, stave off the inevitable insanity for just one more day…

By the way, if you want to try your own Joanna Gaines’ super-duper-fluffy-and-lengthy-rise-time pancakes, search the web for Magnolia Table Pancakes. You’ll be glad you did.

Love and Quarantine!

when it's your child who's been tested for COVID-19

I’ve been waiting on my daughter’s COVID-19 test results for the past two days.

Her testing happened Saturday afternoon and was like something out of a sci-fi movie. Occupational Health arranged for her to drive from home to a clinic. Completely robed and masked nurses met her at the car. They immediately masked her as well, then opened all the doors and ushered her into an exam room where they swabbed her nostrils and walked her back to her car. She was in the clinic less than five minutes and never touched anyone or anything.

The nurse categorized her as High Risk. She’s traveled recently. She has all the symptoms (101 fever, extreme cough and debilitating headache, chills, and fatigue — everything but pneumonia, Thank You, Lord). And her job puts her up-close-and-personal with the virus.

She’s a surgeon, a seventh-year chief resident in Dallas, Texas. and one doc in her hospital has already tested positive.

I am an eleven-hour car ride away from her, and she lives alone. I’ve been a tangled-up torrent of worry and fear. I wanted to drop everything and drive to her, but I was told NO, that she must self-quarantine for the duration.

The thought of my girl locked in her tiny apartment, sick and weak, the groceries depleting, the garbage piling up, the loneliness setting in… all by herself, it was almost too much for my heart.

Luckily, she has a wonderful family of resident and attending physicians who surround and love her. I immediately reached out to two of her best friends, asking them to check in on her by phone. They stepped up like the angels they are.

Others swept in to assist as soon as they got word. Her research mentor volunteered to drop food at her door. Colleagues called nightly. Residents FaceTimed her. So many kept her in their sights, relatively speaking… I can never explain how much their support soothed my Mama’s Heart.

Midway through writing this blog, I got word she tested negative. So much weight has been lifted. I really thought the odds were stacked against her.

My sweet girl is embarrassed that she was ever tested. She feels guilty that others had to carry her weight while she was home sick. She’s so thankful she’s been cleared to go back to work and help carry the load.

Well, Mama Bear talking here, so bear with me.

She’s not the one who should be embarrassed. She’s not the one who should feel guilty. She’s doing her part to help fight this pandemic. She’s putting herself deliberately in harm’s way to help people in need.

But there are individuals out there who should be embarrassed and ashamed. People who refuse to see the seriousness of the situation and keep leaving their homes for careless contact with others. Conspiracy theorists who refuse to listen to the experts and think its all hype and hoax. Folks who strongly believe it is their God-given, American-born right to run their lives like normal.

Well, maybe it is. But life is not normal. It’s as far from normal as anything even the oldest among us has ever seen. And while citizens may have a right to live their lives as they choose, they also have the responsibility to look out for their fellow Americans.

And if they don’t care about their fellow man, they should at least care about their own families and friends — who they are putting at tremendous risk every time they venture out.

People are still playing soccer at Dellinger Park. They’re still meeting neighbors for barbecues and beers. They’re still sending their kids out for play dates with friends.

AND they are putting so many people at risk. The elderly. The infirm. And my child. At risk. And that’s not okay with me.

Medical professionals are working their bodies to the breaking point. They are on the front lines, giving so much.

People should at least be willing to give up some of their all-mighty freedoms for this short period of time.

For Goodness Sakes.

Finding Gifts in the Darkness

Last night, on the eve of our boys’ sixth birthday, our family did what we do every night. We turned on a lullaby, and while it played, Tate and I danced in the dark, and Parker and Mike tossed the football.

Tate is into interpretive dance these days — sort of ballet, sort of slow-mo breakdance. Parker is perfecting his quarterback stutter step. He fires three-foot bullets to his father; Tate pirouettes in our pas des deus.

It is my favorite time of day. I love how the boys still curl into our bodies like baby bats as we lift them into bed, clinging to our necks for kisses.

Last night, Mike and I snuck out after tucking them in, to sit on the their new birthday trampoline, have a glass of wine, and stare at the stars. There was a fine mist covering the sky. At first only Venus, in a blurry halo, was visible. But then, the night pulled back her veil — its long, wispy strands rushing off in every direction — to reveal the scattered, bright pinpoints of stars overhead. It was so peaceful.

I couldn’t help considering the chaos and uncertainty in the world right now, contrasted with the quiet, soothing simplicity surrounding us there in the dark.

A plane whirred overhead. An occasional cricket chirped. Someone had lit a bonfire not far away. The slight scent of woodsmoke drifted into the spaces vacated by the mist. A few doors down, the soft murmurs of back porch conversation.

Our neighbors had our same idea… seek refuge in the stillness of the night.

I wished upon a star then… that all the hazy uncertainty surrounding us would dissolve into studded pinpoints of clarity and hope. I prayed for fresh opportunities to emerge from the fog of fear and the fever of disease. Quickly and soon.

And I know it’s going to take a while longer. Still, if people who can stay home would just stay home. If they would stop running the roads and pounding their metaphorical chests and proclaiming themselves immune from the virus… Then it wouldn’t take nearly as long for us all to reach the other side of this pandemic.

The number of cases in Georgia has tripled overnight. Here in Bartow, we almost doubled. We’re climbing that exponential curve. We’re about to start knowing people who are sick. Some of us already do.

So stay home. Please. Find the stillness within to contrast the chaos without.

Sit on your porches, your patios, your trampolines. Sing songs and dance dances here in the dark. Because these are, indeed, dark times.

But there is sweetness to be found inside darkness, too. There is. Find those sweet, quiet rituals that can center your soul and soothe your worries.

Kiss your family. Take long baths. Star gaze. Read. Write. Meditate. Pray. Pray for those who are sick, pray for those who are in the battle zone fighting for patients’ lives, and pray for your fellow man.

Today, the boys have no birthday party. No school celebration. No family gathering.

But they have gifts. Gifts delivered by grandparents maintaining a socially-safe six feet between them. Gifts delivered by Amazon from grandparents with three big states between them. And gifts delivered by a novel virus currently sweeping the world.

Yes, gifts have even arrived courtesy of this pandemic. Because these boys have been gifted with lots of time with their parents. And we’ve been gifted with lots of time with them. And that is a gift not to be taken for granted.

Because they are growing up so fast. And we are growing old even faster.

Yes, there is sweetness to be found in the darkness. So when night pulls back her veil and reveals all her scattered, bright pinpoints of simplicity and light, receive those gifts. Relish them.

Oh… and Stay the F at Home.

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