(If you’ve landed here from my email, you can skip ahead to where that message left off.)
I wish I were the person who could come up with the words that would make everything better for all of us. Sadly, getting from here to better is going to be a long haul, but for some reason I’m confident we are going to get there and that in the end life is going to be sweeter for all of this. Photographs will be even more precious. Don’t forget that, even if reaching for your camera is not the first thing that comes to mind these days. Photographs are important. Right now that might be hard to believe, I know.
We’ve been thinking a lot about the wave of pain that is passing over our HTPYL community—you and me, and our families, that is. Our whole country, and world. We’ve thought about individuals in our community who have health problems, and elderly parents, and other loved ones who are vulnerable. We’ve thought about everyone whose jobs and businesses have, like ours, been affected—in particular those whose jobs have been affected so much worse. And we’re thinking of, and thanking from the bottom of our hearts, all of you working tirelessly in healthcare and other essential fields, risking your health and lives to take care of the rest of us.
To all of you, Anne and I have launched wishes and prayers your way hoping they will land somewhere near your hearts.
Just like you and billions of others, the Kelsh family has been going through a crazy sad and challenging time. Just to make things a little extra insane, all this hit as we were finally just a couple weeks away from wrapping up the last chapter of our lives (in Philadelphia) and looking forward to fully settling into our new life in our own place in upstate New York. But when the virus hit our existence began to feel a little closer to the edge.
We have been living with my mother-in-law up here since the fall but, for her safety during this crisis, we expedited a move of our (more likely to be exposed) family into a rented house nearby (alas, the ultimate stage of our relocation—purchasing a permanent home—is likely a ways down the road at this point).
So Anne headed to Philadelphia to pack up for the big move, and I took the boys to the new house. And for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been taking care of my boys here, and trying to set up house best I can, while awaiting our belongings. Alexander is 15 and Teddy is 12. That’s really all I’ve given any energy to.
We are lucky. We are out in the country surrounded by fresh air and not a neighbor in sight so we feel secluded and safe. To be honest, it’s a little like being on vacation but not quite. At least, that’s how the boys feel—when they’re not watching the news, that is. (Alexander asked last night if we could knock off the root beer floats as dessert every night. Teddy, on the other hand, says that root beer floats are the perfect dessert. They are two desserts in one, if you think about it, he says.) Teddy and I went to the nearby baseball field four times yesterday for batting practice. It was only wiffle balls but his swing looks good this year!
It could be much much worse. Each of them has a chromebook and they have live broadcasts from school every morning and teacher office hours in the afternoon. In the end, I think the heroic effort of our country’s teachers adapting to online education will be right up there with the people running the cash registers and stocking the shelves at the grocery stores and all of the other millions of everyday heroes this crisis will produce.
In the mornings I hear Teddy upstairs talking to his class. “School“ starts at 9 o’clock but the three teachers for his 6th grade come on at 8:45 and have small talk with the kids.There’s lots of laughter involved which is obviously good for everyone’s soul. It warms my heart to hear his math teacher saying “Hi Teddy, great to see you today!”
Meanwhile, Anne is slightly stuck in Philadelphia. Ever cautious, she went into fervent social distancing mode, doing the gloves/washing/disinfecting drill from the beginning. Still, she somehow managed to come down with something—fever, chills, cold-like symptoms. She had just a couple of days of feeling lousy then, thankfully, pretty quickly felt better. Not knowing whether it was coronavirus or not (her symptoms were mild enough to not qualify for testing), she’s been following full self-isolation protocol as advised. So she’s missing her boys while trying to navigate the challenges of packing a house and arranging a move without risking exposure to any one or any thing in any which way. No easy feat.
So of course, like for everyone, all this has unfortunately had a significant impact on our business. Beyond the obvious worry and distractions, I’m in a house with no computer setup yet and Anne’s in a house with my laptop (hers crashed) but spotty internet—getting our old service hooked up again proved impossible but she discovered one windowsill where she can intermittently access a neighbor’s weak signal. So thanks for your patience and understanding as we wait for Anne to return so we can get settled into our new home together as a family at last, get our home office set up, and get back to work as soon as possible.
In the meantime I know we are all focusing on our families and what matters most. I’ve been finding lots of comfort in calling old friends who haven’t heard from me in a long time. I remember calling old high school friends when 9/11 happened. Funny how that works.
This is a quote from The New York Times this week it pretty much sums up how we feel.
Leave it to Rogers Hornsby, who pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals a century ago, to find the words that neatly fit our troubled times.
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball,” Hornsby once said. “I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
Yes, spring is coming! It may not be til next fall or winter but it’s coming. Until then we have each other.
Let’s stay in focus…together. Please let us know in the comments how you and your families are doing through all this. We are thinking of you all and sending love.