For a little over a month this summer, my wife and I enjoyed a full house.
Our younger son drove in from college for a short break from college. His older brother had come home for spring break in March and remained when his school went entirely online to finish the semester. Setting a place at all four sides of the dinner table was a reminder of what life was like before the pandemic.
Yet we were also reminded of who we couldn’t be with. My wife’s parents remain in Maui, where the coronavirus has been better contained than it has here. Next month will mark a full year they’ve been there. This is also the time we often travel to Maine, the state where I was raised and where my siblings still live. My in-laws are in their upper seventies; my brother and sister both have health conditions, so my family travelling to see them would increase our exposure to the virus, which would in turn increase the risk to my siblings. Everyone is healthy in body, mind, and wealth. Compared to many Americans, we have been highly fortunate, and if staying apart helps keep the virus away from my extended family, it’s a separation that will have to endure.
Both boys left a couple weeks ago, the younger for his senior year, the older for an internship that will complete his degree requirements. They both plan to return here for Thanksgiving, at which point our older son will be officially done with college. What he’ll do at that time is highly uncertain, although staying home with his parents, perhaps working remotely, is likely. Our younger son will stay for a week, perhaps returning in December for another week or two.
Our annual visit to see my in-laws around the holidays hasn’t been officially called off, but there would have to be significant improvement with the pandemic in the next few months for that to happen. We’ll be disappointed at missing the trip, but you won’t read my complaint on this blog. Flying to Hawaii is a privilege, not a right, and now isn’t the time to whine about missing any extravagance.