There have been plenty of horrible things about the last two months. Illness and loss of life. Loss of social interaction and connectivity with family and friends. Loss of livelihoods and long-term economic stability.
Followed by the fighting between those who want to reopen and those who want to stay closed, the essentials and non-essentials and, of course, the relentless battles of the social media soldiers “bravely” firing shots from their keyboards so red and so blue.
Even wearing a mask (or not) has become some sort of political statement.
Over the past few months, we have ingested a nonstop diet of healthy fear, but also harmful hysteria served on top of a bed of surrealism, finished off with a dab of dystopia.
This crisis (like others before it) has been scary, exhausting, weird and stressful.
To say the least.
But it has not been as turbulent or traumatic for everyone. In fact, the past two months have been the best ever for some creatures on this planet.
There has never been a better time in history than now to be a dog.
If I were going to subscribe to any wacko conspiracy theory about this virus’s origin, I would definitely go for something started by a mad dog scientist who simply wanted to spend more time with his overworked owners. He concocted it in his veterinarian’s office (after regular hours, of course) after being boarded by his jet-setting owners for the last time! A fluffy-but-condescending cat certainly told him he was insane and tried to knock over his beakers as he worked. But he persisted and created a global pandemic, causing worldwide work-from-home orders, pleasing dogs everywhere and infuriating cats who need their me(ow) time.
When you think about it, it’s probably the most plausible explanation. OK, maybe not. But even if they aren’t guilty, they have certainly reaped the rewards.
Breeders can’t keep up with requests for puppies and shelters are seeing record numbers of adoptions. All great things for our four-legged friends.
Our dog, who had a pretty wonderful life before COVID-19, is now the most spoiled poodle of the pandemic. He gets three long, leisurely walks a day, where he gets to hang with his other neighborhood pooch pals because their humans are also working from home. His belly is scratched hourly, if not more. And he is told he is “the bestest, most handsomest puppy on the planet,” by his two adults and two kids countless times a day. If only he could ever catch a squirrel, his quarantine life would be complete.
If a second wave comes back in the fall, I think we must take a closer look at these conniving canines. I know I saw at least one pug who tested positive! None of them are wearing masks, and they suck at social distancing! I mean, the butt-sniffing alone! Some might say their lack of cautiousness is just their nature, but maybe, just maybe, it is by design?
In addition to pooches, kids have had a pretty great ride through this pandemic, too.
Though, sadly, this is not true for all children. But corona has provided a time machine for many kids of 2020 to return to a childhood more reminiscent of the 1980s.
And other than being forced to get a Dorothy Hamill haircut, that’s a great thing.
My son, along with his band of merry neighborhood biking pals, has probably ridden 5,000 miles over the past two months. They have explored the neighborhood, played hide and seek, used walkie-talkies to play cops and robbers, and made up things to entertain themselves like only kids whose parents haven’t over-scheduled them to death have the freedom to do. I want to serve them PB&Js and Fruit Roll-Ups in a metal E.T. lunchbox just to complete the whole ‘80s childhood vibe.
But I really have been so impressed with them. It is amazing what the mind can do when it is free to roam.
My younger daughter has also learned to ride her bike and has become so much more self-sufficient and confident. When we were in the daily pre-COVID-19 work-school insanity, it was so much easier to just do everything for them.
“Let me just tie your shoes for you and make your breakfast, it’s faster. Just let me do it! We’re running late!”
She has navigated the distance learning technology like a champ, and she has a million ideas for her future as a YouTube and/or TikTok star. (If you have an 8-year-old girl, you know what I am talking about.)
This period, though difficult in many ways, has given us the precious time to slow down and do some of these things we should have done long ago. And just get to be with our children more. Really with them.
As my husband was making dinner last night, he said, “The one thing I have enjoyed is not having to be somewhere every single night.”
With all of the lessons and after-school activities and leaving work early so we could usher kids to and fro, it was such a grind on all of us. And though we were together in our minds as a family, as we watched them from bleachers or the side of the field, we weren’t really “together.”
It was a grueling lifestyle created entirely by us because we had fooled ourselves into believing “giving” them all of this “opportunity” made us better parents.
I certainly would have never asked for or wanted a global pandemic to force some perspective on this, but it has. And I really don’t think I have ever seen my children as carefree and happy, but also as innovative and imaginative, as they are right now.
It pains me to think about stripping some of that away.
As things start to get back to “normal,” I really have to wonder if we will be able to keep the craziness from creeping back into our lives and daily routines?
Honestly, I doubt it. But I am going to try and at least minimize it.
But if there is anything this pandemic has taught me, is that the kids will be alright.
But the dog, on the other hand?
Well, I fear he is going to need a therapist and maybe some yoga and massage and doggie Xanax once things get back to “normal.”
Or maybe he is ready for us all to get the hell out of his house, too.
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