How do two ordinary dads write about COVID-19? We’re not doctors or healthcare workers. Our medical knowledge extends to being at the other end of a scalpel for surgery. We’re two of millions of people absolutely in awe of the power of this raging virus—one that does not discriminate according to age, gender or status. It is merciless as it carves out paths across the nation and world and selects its hotspots to ravage specific populations. It is a reminder of how small and powerless we are.
Dad, first of all, we hope you are instructing your youngsters and older children through this disease maze. Our families haven’t shown their faces for quite awhile in their neighborhood. We have all become creative in our isolation. We’ve received videos of our grandkids jumping off the sofa into a pile of stuffed animals, over and over. We’ve split our sides laughing at a 4-year-old grandson, pounding away on the piano keyboard and improvising a tune to “Give my regrades to Broadway!” (No, that is not a typo.) We’ve watched our granddaughter frolic in a camping tent, set up in a living room with no room to spare. Under ordinary circumstances some of the indoor behavior would be forbidden. Currently, however, almost anything goes, minus access to the knife drawer and the cat’s litter box.
How to be close apart
At this writing, staying home has been extended at least through April. Right now, it’s still kind of fun for the kids because their world of concern starts and ends at the toy box and the video library. Dad, you’re well aware of the world of hurt outside your front door. You know people who are alone in their homes, whose only conversation is with their cat. Maybe they are your neighbors or members in your church.
What a wonderful opportunity to impart values to your children, especially the older ones. If you can take the gang on a walking tour, we suggest conducting a “window waving” campaign. How many elderly people do you suppose are sitting at a window right now and just staring out? You might be surprised. Walk by, catch their attention, and wave. Step closer to the window and ask. “Are you okay? Do you need anything?”
Get the kids involved
If you can locate their address, send them a card from your family. Or have the kids make and decorate a homemade card. If you are able to track down their phone number, call them, let it ring several times, and let your kids say hello. It’s no nosedive off the sofa into a mountain of stuffed animals, but one small gesture like that just might mean the world to an elderly person who lives alone.
“We’re all in this together” has become the new catch phrase, even as we avoid togetherness. Perhaps when this is all behind us, that statement will truly become words to live by.