Last night as we were tucking the girls into bed, Georgia, age 8, prefaced her question as always with her habitual daddy, can I ask you something?
Next came the actual question, one that I don’t have the answer to: daddy, when is this whole thing going to be over?
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve thought a lot about how this is the first time in our daughters’ lives that Tracie and I, like them, are navigating a situation for which none of us, not even the smartest people in the world, have a ready solution. Given the enormous and entirely uncharted challenges that we are all facing, I realize that like Georgia and Lila Jane (age 6), we are all children who have only their faith, their family, and their love to guide them.
I was about to board a flight back to Houston from Miami on March 9 when Italy announced that it was locking down the whole country. Tracie and I knew then that it was only a matter of time before Houston would get its Stay Home-Work Safe order. Sure enough, by Thursday of that week, schools had been closed and we were already isolating (even though Houston’s complete lockdown wouldn’t come for some time). As long as I live and breathe, I’ll never forget when two weeks had passed since my last flight and and I was confident that I had avoided getting infected. Today, Miami, where I attended a large walk-around tasting and took part in a wine conference, is a hot spot.
Tracie, the girls, and I are all healthy. And we’ve been taking every precaution we can to make sure that we stay safe. My mother, my brothers, and their families are all healthy. And so is Tracie’s family. But her grandmother — her mewaw, Violet, 99 years old — had a stroke a few weeks ago and we are all really sad that we can’t visit with her. Not even her children, Randy, Tracie’s dad, and his sister Holly, can visit her in the rehabilitation home where she is recovering. Another sibling, Jim, lives with his wife in Utah and it’s impossible for them to get to Texas now, for obvious reasons. It’s weighing on all of us terribly. Tracie’s family always rallies when one of its members falls ill. But today that’s just not possible.
Georgia and Lila Jane are both doing well. But they have lots of questions (to which we don’t have answers) and Lila Jane has been acting up a little more than usual. We recognize that she is having trouble expressing her anxiety. Every day it gets a little better, a little easier. Luckily, Tracie and I both work from home and so the isolation has been easier for us to deal with than for some of our friends who used to go to an office every day. Homeschooling has had its challenges. But we — the kids, the parents, and the teachers — are all beginning to settle into the rhythms of the new normal.
All in all, we have been extremely blessed. We all miss the way life was before but we know that we are immensely fortunate to have our health and each other.
Tonight, we’ll celebrate the Passover with our Seder meal. We weren’t able to find everything for our Seder plate at our local supermarket but we’ll make do. We’re sharing the one box of matzah that we found with another family in our neighborhood. Just one sheet of matzah would suffice and we are thankful for that. We’ll pour the cup of wine for Elijah and we’ll open the door. But for the first time in our lives, we won’t be able to invite a stranger in (one of my favorite traditions about the Passover, although no one has ever showed up). It will be a Pesach like none before.
I’m hoping that Georgia and Lila Jane will read the Four Questions tonight. I have answers for those. I can’t answer Georgia’s question, when this whole thing will be over? The only thing I know is that we, just like Georgia and Lila Jane, are G-d’s children. And I put my faith in Them and them. Only They and they can deliver us from this crisis.
I hope your Passover is a good one. G-d bless you, G-d bless us all. Chag sameach.