Monday, May 11, 2020

Quarantine joy ride

Max and I have been going on joy rides around the neighborhood. Car rides are always a great place to chat with your children, and Max is no exception.

"I hate this!" he announces as we drive by a family in masks.

"You hate wearing masks?" I ask.

He nods. He hasn't really said much about the whole situation.

"You know why we wear masks, right?" I continue.

"Virus!" he says.

"Yes," I tell him. "Masks stop us from spreading germs to other people."

"I hate virus!" he says

"I do, too," I tell him. "Let's say it together: THIS SUCKS!"

And together we yell, "THIS SUCKS!"

We laugh, then we're quiet for a few minutes. It's quiet on the road, too, eerily so. We pass the tricky intersection en route to Sabrina's school, and I consider how it feels like such a long time since Dave or I drove her there. Everything normal feels like it was so long ago. This is our eighth week of quarantine.

"When are you going back to work?" Max wants to know.

"I'm not sure yet, honey," I say. "I'll go back when my company says it's safe to go back."

"I want to go with you to New York!" he says.

"That would be great to do that again," I say. He came with me to my office a couple of summers ago, and loved it.

Max has been amazingly mature about everything so far, including when we told him that the week-long camp he's been going to for years isn't happening. "Next year?" he asked, and I was bowled over by his positivity. This. Boy.

Max is quiet, once again.

"How does the virus make you feel?" I ask.

He doesn't answer.

"Does it make you sad?" I ask.

"Yes," he says. "L.A."

"You want to go to L.A.?" I ask.

"Yes." He nods, vehemently, and his eyes fill with tears.

"Awww, Max, I know it's hard," I say. "We can't go on trips right now because of the virus."

"I know," he says. "Can we go to L.A. in three weeks?"

"I don't think so," I tell him. "The virus is in L.A., too."

"It's not!" he says.

"Yes, it is. The virus is all over the world, but our family is OK," I say. "You can go back to L.A. when it's safe."

"I will!" he tells me.

"Let's go home now, Daddy is making a barbecue!" I say.

He gives me a look. Ooops.

"Oh right, this is not your home. Los Angeles is your home."

"YESSSSS!" he says and flashes me a grin, the one that always brings the sunshine.

And we drive the empty streets back to our home-not-home and everything is weird and surreal but we are OK.

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