New Normal and Missed Traditions

Like many – or all – of you, I’m starting to get a little bit crazy. It’s been over 3 months since life as we knew it was flipped upside down. I’ve been teleworking a lot, taking off work some days because Cole’s daycare is still closed, and Mitch is back to work full time. Parts of the country are starting to reopen, and parts of our state, and we are soon to follow.

First time in his baby pool!

I’m torn on how to feel. On one hand, I am SO ready for life to return to normal. Our area thankfully has not been hit hard by this virus, and the confirmed cases fell well below the projected numbers. I’m thinking of returning to our typical Friday nights, grabbing a few beers and dinner at the sportsman’s club with our friends. The weather has been great this week, and I’m anxiously wanting to put social distancing behind us. On the other hand, I’m still scared. I’m scared for my grandfather with COPD. I’m scared for my 9 month old son who had RSV only a few months ago. I’m scared for my family and friends who work in direct patient care. I wish this were easy, but it’s not. I want to think that soon life as we knew it will return, I can stop social distancing, and see our friends and family again without being overly cautious.

But, can I? Can we really ever return to normal? What I hate the most about these mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing, standing 6 feet apart times is that the physical distance creates a mental distance. I’ve lost track of how many times in a grocery store I’ve said, “thank you” or “excuse me” or made some sort of friendly comment to another shopper – through my mask – to only be totally shunned. Have people lost their manners along with their social freedom? Have we lost sight of what normalcy is already?

It’s a weird and scary time. Graduations, weddings, and large-scale events have been postponed or canceled entirely. The one that has hit me the hardest so far is the Ashville Memorial Day Parade. Every single year on Memorial Day, we started our day driving down to my Pap Malloy’s house on Main Street in Ashville, sit on the front porch together, and watched the parade with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Those from the area know exactly what I’m talking about. After my Pap passed away and my brother bought and remodeled his house, the tradition continued – except for this year. There was no parade. No walk up to the VFW to hear the keynote speaker. No McConnell Band playing the Star Spangled Banner. No Ashville Fire Company trucks, one of which is usually driven by my brother. No local baseball teams marching and throwing candy. No procession to the cemetery to visit my grandparents grave while the VFW conducted a ceremony to honor the most recently deceased military member of the year. If one thing is for sure, Ashville does it right. And I truly missed that this year.

Cole – Memorial Day Weekend

But not only did I miss that, I missed that with my son. I wanted so badly to see the wonderment on Cole’s 9 month old face when all of this happened before his eyes for the very first time. It nearly brings tears to my eyes to think that he didn’t get to experience that this year – and I just pray that 2021 brings us different opportunities to continue with that sacred and most loved tradition that we share with my Malloy family.

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