I want to start by recognizing how fortunate I have been this year. My wife and I are employed by a company that has taken good care of their employees, having my daughter home for most of the year gave me an ability to see her toddler experience and bond with her in a way that long hours respectively in the office and at daycare would not have, and the people I care about have all been in relatively good health.
Or they were, until last week my parents were diagnosed with Covid-19.
I’m leaning on the multigenerational aspect of this blog this week, not the stationery aspect, so if you’re really just here for pens I respect that, and I’ll warn you right now, that’s not what you’re getting. Try back again in a week or two.
But for anyone else who is willing to stick around, let me tell you, first, that so far my parents have been experiencing pretty much a best case scenario for Covid-19, thankfully. After a few days of cold-like symptoms my mother seems to have recovered entirely for now, and my father’s only lingering symptom is lethargy. Neither parent has been having any breathing issues.
But still, it’s a terrifying call to get, your father telling you that he has contracted the virus that has killed over 300,000 Americans and brought our country, and the entire world, to its knees. While I may be the author of the majority of these blog posts, Penquisition is very much a two man endeavor, so it’s only fair that I use this platform to spread the word.
Wear your mask, even if you’re not sure you’re going to run into anyone. Get the vaccine when you’re eligible. Practice social distancing. Don’t go out in public if you really don’t need to. Participate in contact tracing. Wash your hands, and don’t rush it. None of these are political statements. This isn’t about anyone “winning”, it’s about protecting ourselves and each other. I am so grateful that all signs point to my parents making it through this virus okay, but it would have been so much better if they never caught it in the first place. I don’t want any of you to get sick, or to have to worry about your loved ones, so I implore you, wear your dang mask!
I also wanted to share this message because there shouldn’t be a stigma on those who contract the virus. My parents have been wearing masks, and washing their hands, and distancing from their grandchildren and others, and all manner of precautions since March. This isn’t a story about people ignoring reasonable precautions and getting sick because of it. This is a story about two people who did everything they were supposed to, but who got sick because someone else out there didn’t take their own precautions seriously enough, and spread the virus. Don’t forget that one of the big purposes a mask serves is to protect other people from you if you’re carrying the virus and don’t know it.
If I could make just one request of you, it I would be “care about other people.” Wear your mask to keep everyone safe. Don’t judge people who get sick because you don’t know their story and judgement doesn’t help anyone. Be kind to one another because we’ve all just been through a heck of a year, and we could all use a little kindness and compassion. On this last day of Hanukkah, I’m rededicating myself to compassion for others, and I invite you to join me. The vaccines are rolling out, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s all hold hands (but only figuratively, because social distancing) and walk through it together.