It’s been two years since I’ve seen my children, my grandsons, my big sister and other members of my family. Two years since COVID-19 first came on the scene, destroying the traditions and ways of life that were once the norm and which I had grown to enjoy so much.
I suppose I took life for granted as many others apparently did. Where I once frequented my favorite restaurants around the DMV on at least two or three nights a week, now I make the best of cooking meals. At least my culinary skills have improved.
Just two years ago, jumping on a plane or hopping a train for parts unknown was something I did with regularity. Now, I have resolved myself to taking long walks with the dogs while shopping at places that are within walking distance so as to avoid public transportation or being forced to pay ridiculously high Uber prices.
Again, the daily walks, both with my two “little girls,” that is, my dogs, or humping it to CVS, Staples or the corner grocery store have resulted in improved health, so it hasn’t been all bad.
But I want to go home for the holidays. I want to live the words that are expressed in the holiday classic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” I want to sit and listen to my 7-year-old grandson as he chatters and babbles and calls my name, “Granddaddy,” over and over again. Once that was bit annoying — now I long for it.
I want to chill with my oldest grandson, a freshman in college, whose graduation had to be conducted virtually and who I worry about because of the loss of so many rites of passage in which he could not engage because of the coronavirus and related shutdowns and cancellations.
It’s times like these that I really miss my mother and my many aunts and uncles and my dad and the grandparents and the cousins — loved ones with whom I celebrated Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day and any other event that allowed us to get together and praise God for life, health and strength. And we did have some glorious family get-togethers.
It’s funny because when we’re children, we never think about that time when we will become the elders and have the responsibility of leading the family, guiding our youth or figuring out solutions to difficult challenges. But that’s where I stand today. I have become the elder.
So, I cannot give up or give in. And that’s OK. Because while life has changed in ways I could have never imagined, and while the world continues to undergo a paradigm shift of immense proportion, I still know that I am not alone.
My faith remains strong. In fact, I have finally been able to turn over many of my fears, struggles concerns and even my rare moments of despair to God.
Meanwhile, as my parents taught me, I know that the ancestors continue to walk with me — sometimes in front of me to lead the way, sometimes behind me to give me a gentle nudge and sometimes beside me so that I can lean on them when I have grown weary.
It’s gonna be all right. And so will I.