Celebrating an Anniversary During a Pandemic
The enormity of a pandemic does not lessen the desire to mark special occasions, nor does it alleviate any wistfulness about altered plans.
And, to flip that around, a deep desire to mark special occasions right now in no way diminishes the acknowledgement that there is a pandemic affecting everyone, everywhere.
We are humans, after all; creatures with joys and sorrows and obligations that are not going to get neatly packed away during an emergency. We do what we must to be part of the solution for flattening the curve and curbing the spread of this coronavirus, and we still figure out how to honor what we hold dear in our hearts.
These little celebrations matter. Birthdays, anniversaries, a kid's mastery of some new skill. Kindness toward whomever is riding this out at home with us is essential. Listening to friends and family over the phone and via video chats is as important as it's ever been. And if someone feels a bit sad that they can't see a family member who lives elsewhere right now, that's okay. That's human. That's what missing someone does to us, even if we know it's temporary.
Last Friday, my partner Mick and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. We were delighted to have a Google Hangout with our kids and their families. Two hours in a virtual happy hour with them Friday afternoon went by in a flash. We were lucky to have steak and asparagus from the local grocery store for dinner at home. We savored a bottle of wine left here by friends back around Christmas. As anniversaries go, we are lucky we could have a nice dinner and chat with our kids.
It also drove home how much I miss the people I can't hug right now.
All these feelings, large and small, make up the human condition. Let's not lose our compassion, kindness, and connection to each other as we all figure out how to live with new routines, new work conditions, new threats to our health and well-being. There's room for everything we're feeling, even as we practice physical distancing and level-headed responses to this rapidly-changing world. Even as we sew masks, donate to local food shelves, leave dog treats on our neighbor's front steps, or loan a cooler to the neighbor whose refrigerator broke down at the worst possible time. It all matters.
Anniversary flowers from the grocery store