My son and his wife are new owners of a charming, magical cabin. It’s located on the shore of an utterly serene lake about 40 minutes from Ely. My son will be heading there with his three kids — my grandchildren — this upcoming July 4th weekend. Their mom has to stay in town as she is a veterinarian on call. I have hardly seen my precious grandkids during this time of the pandemic, and I miss them hugely.
A few days ago, Joey, age 10, phoned and asked me if I’d like to join them at the cabin this coming weekend. He said they all really want me to be there with them. I responded with an enthusiastic “Oh yes, I’d love to!!!” Grandkids, my son, the cabin, July 4th in northern Minnesota — it doesn’t get much better than that.
And then, that night, sleep was hard to come by as the doubts started creeping in: a four-hour car drive, time with people again after isolating for the past many weeks, fears of the asymptomatic transmission of the virus, four days of family togetherness: meals, games, swimming, boating, conversations, camp fires, all the fun things that one does at the cabin… It sounded wonderful — and risky, and scary. I wrote my son a long email explaining that, with a heavy heart, I felt that, this time, I had to pass. Having sent it, I felt relieved that I might be avoiding a brush with Covid.
Then a flurry of emails — he suggesting that it would be good for me to get away, that his family is well, that they are spending little time with others, that I could sleep in my own cabin there, that he really wished that I would come. And me trying to explain my concerns, among the most significant: the asymptomatic transmission of the virus, possibly picking it up at my age (almost 78) from a healthy family member. Plus, four hours together in a car sounded like a recipe for disaster.
More emails and phone conversations, then a dinner together — outdoors, sitting a good distance apart, more conversation. And now I’ve relented. I’m not sure exactly how this happened. It has always been hard for me to resist my kids, especially now when I’m feeling more vulnerable and my own desires are part of the equation. And I did feel pressure from my son, encouragement from my grandkids, and a strong desire on my part to be with my family again.
I will drive up in my own car, behind them. And I will join in all the family fun, simply assuming that I will not get sick. Hopefully, I won’t. Then, we’ll know that it was a good decision. And, if I do come down with the virus, then we’ll know that it wasn’t.
And so go the day-to-day questions and life choices during this new, strange, and troubling time.