Updated: Jul 25, 2020
"When the sun comes out again we’ll be stronger than ever and learn to never take special moments like a hug with a loved one for granted."
I remember the first time I heard it, “social distancing”. What is that? Funny thing is, aside from Martin and our family, coworkers, and a few close friends; we pretty much stick with social distancing naturally. We don’t frequent crowded places, pubs or mingle with random strangers unless we’re at an event or show. The six-foot distance thing has been a part of our lives, for the most part, all the time, aside from each other and family. I’ve always respected the personal bubble space and dreaded “close talkers” eager to talk two inches from your face and spit simultaneously, the worst! Being a bit of a germ-a-phob, personal space is something I practice all the time. So when this whole “social distancing” practice came about, I didn’t feel too concerned really. What I didn’t know would hit me so hard, was not being able to enjoy time with our family and give them a real hug, not an “air hug”.
Martin and I went to go visit my mother a couple of weeks ago and spend some time with her and walk around the property which we’re in the works of turning into our little mini farm and native plant nursery. It was the first time we had been up there to visit her since the pandemic came out. What you would think would naturally happen when you haven’t seen your mother in a couple of months such as a huge warm hug and kiss on the cheek, turned out to be an “air hug’. We almost looked like robots, walking up to one another and stopping at the alligator length away and putting out our arms in a pretend to embrace. What is this doing to our psyche? You have to wonder, how are we dealing with all of this in the long run? It’s so difficult to not be able to have intimacy with our loved ones. I could tell it was extra hard on my mother who is very affectionate and misses us dearly as we miss her. We walked along with the bamboo trees she has in the yard and listened to them dance in the wind and took in the beautiful scenery and nature.
My mother fosters dogs from the shelter that she works and volunteers at part-time, and she just happened to have an adorable puppy at the house the day we went to visit her. Martin and I got to cuddle and hug this sweet baby blue nose pitbull and sadly not hug my mom. It was nice to be able to play with the puppy and have that loving contact at least. I told my mother to be strong; we all have to be right now and know that soon we will hug one another and stop the cold air hugging we’ve been doing lately. After our visit, we headed out to go see my sister and niece who live close by my mother for yet another “social distance” hangout.
I had spoken to my sister a few hours before we drove up for our visit and she had told Martin and me to bring our own blanket for a social distance picnic. Before we arrived we picked up a Publix sub and some snacks for lunch and setup our picnic on the grass outside of her house. My niece, who’s 6 years old, was sitting at the window anxiously awaiting our arrival and waved at us as we set up our picnic area. Fiona our niece is the love of our lives. She is so smart and sweet and loves spending time playing with her and Aunty “She” as she calls me ever since she was a baby, not being able to pronounce the full Ashley, and Uncle Martin. Normally as we pull up in the car, the minute she hears the car door she comes running out and jumps in our arms and gets devoured in kisses and tummy tickles. This time it was different, no hug and just a wave and air hug. Ugh, the torture. The best thing about having a niece or nephew is the special moments of play and cuddles, and not being able to do that seems so unfair. We know we have to do what’s right and stick with being safe and protect her.
For fun, we came up with playing a game or two of charades. It actually was quite fun and we were all laughing hysterically guessing each other’s well thought out actions and movements from across our six-foot distant blankets. For a moment in time it felt like it was normal, playing, laughing and not worrying about the pandemic and “social distancing”. My sister showed us all the hard work they’ve put into the vegetable garden behind the house. Dutchess and Ranger the furry doggie companions were outside with us on their leashes by my sister’s side. My sister doesn’t allow the dogs to interact with anyone because then she has to wash them and fears they could carry the virus from a person petting them that might be infected. It was too funny because as we were playing charades, Ranger ninja’d off his leash and decided to meander over to our blanket and literally put his head under my arm. I sat there not touching him as he sat by me with his head on my lap totally breaking the social distance rules and I started laughing, at that point I asked if I could pet him and my sister gave in and said fine. Martin and I gave Ranger so many tummy rubs and pats, he was a happy boy. Poor Ranger had to get a bath right after by my sister and brought back inside. We packed up and said our goodbyes and “air hugged”. We told Fiona that soon enough we’ll all be cooking together and watching movies cuddling. We drove off and headed home back to our nest.
During these times, we have to sit back and write down what we're grateful for and most importantly be thankful for our good health. These challenging times shall pass and we’ll all embrace with our family soon. This might be the best way we've utilized technology yet, as it's always been meant to connect us more, yet distanced people more than ever before the pandemic. Now technology such as Facetime and Zoom can bring us together, not quite the same how it would really feel, but it's better than not communicating at all. Remember that although we’re not all in the same boat as others have it much worse, we’re in the same storm and at the end of the storm the clearing comes out. When the sun comes out again we’ll be stronger than ever and learn to never take special moments like a hug with a loved one for granted.
Keep the Nest Blessed