I’m sitting on an airplane right now and wondering if I’m too old to bounce. Does a person run out of time to get this excited? Does it become unseemly after a certain age? I’m honestly not sure, so, in a few minutes, I plan on bouncing. Because how could I not?
After 529 days of being away from my family, I am finally on my way to them. The border to Canada opened to Canadian citizens near the beginning of July. It opens to American citizens (double vaccinated only, please!) Aug. 9. So here I am, masked to the max, amongst a planeload of peeps who look a little nervous to be here.
And I get it. In between bouts of wanting to bounce and shout from the rooftops, it takes just looking at a little kid with a mask on before you realize how sobering life is now.
Over the past year and a half, it’s hard to believe how much has changed. I mean, the global pandemic, sure, that’s one. But even in my own life. We lost our precious, beloved Fitz. We now have our adorable Hugo. My hair is grey. We have a new kitchen (and after today, I believe even a faucet!). Sway Essay had quadrupled its growth. I’ve written a book.
A lot of time passes in 529 days.
I’ve spent every one of them with my husband William. I told him last night and might as well tell all of you that, as much as I’ve longed for my family, there is no other person I’d have rather spent a pandemic with. His intelligence, wit, his ability to make a killer strawberry daiquiri constantly amazes me. We’ve cooked fun, delicious dinners together. We’ve watched a whole bunch of TV together. We’ve had great discussions. And we agree. When it comes to the big stuff, like religion and politics, we are so on the same page that sometimes I can hardly wait to tell him about an article I’ve read or a segment I’ve heard.
As a result, as excited as I was and am, leaving William and the dogs at 3:30 this morning felt like a mental ripping. Leaving that cocoon to enter a world swimming with variant felt risky and bleak. Would home feel the same during a pandemic? Would traveling feel worth it?
So far, the answer is yes. I am sitting here listening to people crunch on Goldfish crackers, I’m looking at the quilt of farms beneath us, am reminded how much cities look like stars from this height. All of it feels so blissfully familiar that just getting to feel that feeling is worth it.
Still, there is a lot that is so foreign that I sometimes feel dizzy.
Yesterday, I checked my CVS iPortal 67 times to see if my Covid test results were back and, as such, if I’d be able to travel at all. Covid test results are taking between 48 and 72 hours to be returned because of the surge of the variant. And with only 72 hours to work with between test time and border crossing, you need to plan very carefully (next time, I plan on taking two tests).
When I did get my negative results, I had the strangest reaction. I started bawling. I think all of the shoring up I’ve done to avoid feeling homesick started breaking up and the flood broke through.
And now I’m just hours away from home. The first thing I’m going to do is hug my mom and Peter. Obvs. Then I’m going to meet my parents’ new puppy, Charlie, who I can’t wait to kiss. And then I’m going to be in the spot I’ve been thinking about for 569 days: at the kitchen island talking to my parents, a glass of wine in one hand, a Cheezie in the other, Matthew and Jennie set to arrive in mere hours.
Life is strange right now, that’s for sure. A whole lot of feelings. But the sweetest parts are still pretty sweet. Time to bounce.