Living On Walton’s Mountain?

I Didn’t Sign Up For This
A Covid-19 Blog
Chapter 9
Life As We Knew It

“You don’t have to give birth to someone to have a family. We’re all family – an extended family.”
Sandra Bullock

My last blog entry asked my readers to stay tuned for a blog about making masks, as I intended this to be my next topic. I still intend to write about our ‘mask-making’ experience, but my plans changed.

Isn’t that the way of the world these days? Plans change all the time in this new reality Covid-19 thrust us into, and until we learn how to defeat this tiny piece of R.N.A., its spread across the globe will continue like an insidious spreading pool of blood. Forgive me for the gruesome metaphor, but with the death toll across the world climbing to 69,383 people as of tonight, it describes the transmission and outcome of the virus very well.

“You have to put it into perspective,” a young man told me at a hardware store last week, as he slid my purchased items to me along a board from a safe distance of six feet, and sanitized the pen I’d just used to write out my check. “Heart disease kills six-hundred-and-thirty-thousand Americans each year.”

He’s correct. Heart disease is the leading cause of death, followed in second place by cancer. Want to take a wild guess at which disease is in third place? I’m sure you guessed it. Covid-19.

Now, want to guess which disease will be the leading cause of death within a few months if we don’t get smarter, shelter in place, social distance and learn how to wear masks in public?

In countries where they have done those things, they have stopped the virus’s transmission, or at very least, greatly reduced the numbers of new cases, which will save thousands of lives. Taiwan, Canada, South Korea, Georgia (the country, not the state) and Iceland are the shining examples right now. I hope many other countries soon follow their lead.

But wait, I digress. It’s the change of plans I wanted to discuss today.

Three months ago, my husband and I were “empty nesters” living happily with each other, while enjoying a wide range of social and family interactions. We saw the kids and grandkids all the time. We had eight children between us. When we met, Paul had three children, and I had four children. We added Amber to make it a perfect “Yours, mine and ours.”  We lost Paul’s eldest daughter, Amy, last year to Metastatic Breast Cancer at the age of thirty-four. I wonder what she would have thought about this crazy world we live in just a year later?

Paul and I celebrated our wedding anniversary at home late last month. We’d planned to go out to dinner. So much for that great idea.

Our twenty-year-old daughter, Amber, was home to celebrate with us. If we’d waited another week, we could have added my twenty-nine-year-old son, Sam, and three-year-old granddaughter to the mix. Why? Because they all live with us now.

Amber’s university where she lived on campus as a sophomore closed its doors and sent all the live-in’s home about three weeks ago. 

Sam’s wife works in health care, and they made the painful decision that it wasn’t safe to remain living together for the safety of their child. My son and his wife did a role-reversal last year, and he is the stay-at-home parent, while she works full time. So Sam and the little one are now living with us.

Luckily, we have a big house. We also have an additional five adult children. It could get really crowded around here! 

Walton’s Mountain, here we come.

Just kidding. The others are all sheltering in place now, and their circumstances do not warrant them needing to move home with us.

It’s not as difficult or as awkward as one might expect suddenly going from a household of two to a household of five. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing the gravity of the entire situation has something to do with it. 

I doubt this is unique to our family. Home has become one of the few safe havens in the entire world. It reminds me of stories I read during times long since passed.  

Children being sent off to live with relatives in the country in war-time England. Extended families living together with multiple generations. Home-cooked meals every night because nobody went to restaurants except on very special occasions. It was a different world back then.

It is a different world we’re experiencing right now. I intend to make the most of this family time, building up wonderful memories. I kind of like this entire three-generations living under one roof thing. My heart goes out to anyone living alone during this time of social distancing. But we all have to make the best of our situations, if we will survive this.

The entire human population of this planet is united in fighting an invisible enemy.

Covid-19 doesn’t care about race, or borders, or your socio-economic status.

I think Sandra Bullock got it right when she said; “We’re all family – extended family.” 

Wouldn’t it be great if we human-beings could remember that when this crisis passes?

One day, people will tell the story of the great 2020 pandemic that changed the world forever. First, we have to get through this, and we have to do it together.

Please follow social distancing guidelines.

Please wear a mask out in public. It’s to protect you and everyone else. 

Please stay safe at home if and when you can.

The life you save might be your own.

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