My son contracted COVID at school, based on what the school told us, though he wears a mask. Moral of the story: actually continue to give this Virus its due difference, folks. It has killed (WHO site has not been updated in 48 hours, but I’d assume we’ve hit 5 million) almost 5 million people globally.
People are STILL underestimating this Virus. I still hear, “I can fight it.” #Darwin
Anyway, my child’s favorite holiday is Halloween, which is troubling for three reasons. First, I HATE Halloween – I detest masks and other alterations of a person’s actual…being. Second, his favorite holiday should be Thanksgiving, Valentine’s, or something equally lovely and featuring joyful hearts frolicking in a meadow. Instead? He loves a holiday featuring blood, fear, and other terrifying moments of gloom. Eye roll. Third, he has never celebrated Halloween. He has been a child of quarantine (I was nervous in 2019, definitely fearful in 2020, and he’s Agent Orange now).
He sat on a the porch this year. Full costume (he was a Dallas Police Officer). No trick-or-treating. Again.
He watched other children, from a Fauci-approved distance, experience the holiday he loves. He doesn’t love the candy – he loves the interaction and the fact that people go outdoors at night. He loves that “Dia de los Muertos,” which he will stay with a killer (pun intended) accent, honors the dead – we honor his Grandpére almost daily. “Death” is a word that has no sting in our household.
Previously, we quarantined with Momma (who is a teacher, mother, grandmother, SAINT). Not so much now. We are in serious quarantine – no one in or out. I am struggling. All of the sudden, I’m alone – I am teacher, mother, cook, housekeeper, coach, psychologist. I am working – full-time. It is hard.
When people ask me, “what can I do?” I answer, “we are fine.” That is true. “We” are fine, for sure. My son is just fine, which means that “we” are fine.
But, I am not fine.
Earlier today, two parts of our family’s heart showed up for what Frankenstein referred to as a “reverse Halloween.” I got it, after a nap (I think?). They showed up to our house because my little guy could not go to any house(s). Brilliant. Helpful to this Momma who needed to see her Little Bear smile and needed to see her friends, to be honest. We talked about normal things and, for pity’s sake, how we would get back to a better place, after he’d tested negative again.
But, night cometh. So cometh the tantrums of a Kindergartner on Halloween, who is unable to actually trick-or-treat.
Enter: A pre-teen and St. Thomas
Around 7:30 PM tonight, at our curb, arrived a very costumed-under-duress Zookeeper and an effervescent and downright joyful Tiger. They were our dear friends, representing our little Church That Can – St. Thomas the Apostle. (Editor’s note: already knew Tiger had great gams and Zookeeper has been hiding that light under jeans…moving on…). They briefly visited and left some bags of Halloween treats.
Around 7:45 PM, I was clearing all the s**t out of the yard:
- the massive table, which was actually a line of demarcation – here is the COVID and there are YOU
- the candy, which was cheap and full of junk
- the chalk, which might have ended up with some nice drawings (here’s hoping) and
- all the other stuff meant to make Halloween celebratory for all the kiddos, thought it wasn’t for us.
Immediately after shutting the door and turning out the obligatory “SHOP’S CLOSED!” lights, some yutes (MCV reference) knocked on the door. I spoke to them, through the glass mask, “I’ll go get the candy, but stand away from the door. My son has COVID.”
I went to got get two large handfuls of the TONS of candy we were given today (more later). I went too slowly, punishment for arriving after I’d clearly signaled I was absolutely done with this day?, to the door. Two kiddos were standing a bit away from the front step. They said the obligatory “trick or treat”s.
“Hope y’all have a good Halloween, here’s some stuff,” I said. I dumped candy into their buckets. This was done with a smile because I was happy. Happy they were enjoying Halloween. Truly. I could tell they were.
Then, one kid looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Thank you and I’m going to pray for your son.”
Please, think about that. This kid is out collecting candy and had the presence of thought to say that.
This could be our future, America. We can be okay. Remember this kid.
Then, I go back inside.
My kid is eating a very late dinner, in our kitchen. He asks if he can look at the bags from Mr. Tiger and Mr. Zookeeper. I say “okay.” My son has been awful – truly awful – to me for hours and days. But, it’s Halloween and his has been rather lamentable.
First bag has a gift in it, from our Father Stephen – a Christmas stocking. We both smile, “Son, there are better days coming.” He says, “YES!” We both agree this is a good reminder that a little child will bring joy. Such a good time for this reminder – faith-wise and in-THIS-house-wise. #callingmeameaniedoesnotconstitutebringingjoy
Then, there is a bag with an ALARMING amount of candy in it. Y’all, it’s a truly alarming. It’s like Willy Wonka threw up here. There’s a card and I’m fully expecting to see one name when…
I see many.
I see our church. I see our people, our family.
I’ll tell you, we are not anything you’d imagine, at St. Thomas the Doubter. We CALL ourselves “Doubters.” We are loving. We lift each other up. We support each other. We are genuinely inclusive – please, not only come as you are, but don’t you dare try to be someone else. We know when the person says, “I’m okay,” it might mean, “I could use some sunshine.” God forbid, it means, “help me.” Did we hear that?
Through this simple act of signing a card, collecting candy, driving North 45 minutes, our Doubters? They heard it.
They entered a house with COVID tonight. By the way, there are folks at St. Thomas, with whom we have mourned COVID deaths. We – Bärli and me. Tonight, they were with us, in our house, which has COVID. We felt and truly needed their presence with us and we got it. I will never put that card away.
And, we are always with y’all. This boy’s voice may not be literally still or small, but it is a still, small voice that is always in that Chapel, in the Parish Hall, or wherever we are gathered. Thank you all for opening that door to a single mother and a 3-year old. We needed y’all. xo
Let it be that we can all be that still, small voice – a pre-teen at someone’s door, a boss saying “we’re here for you,” a teenager playing her heart out on a football field in East Tennessee, a neighbor carrying kindness in the form of a bucket of Halloween thoughtfulness. Let us all be that pure, beautiful voice of awareness that we are not alone to someone else. It need not be God on a Cloud – it can be God in human form…and usually is.