Warning… Relaxing Restrictions Could Lead To Hugging

Spring/Summer in my world has arrived. I have to include both seasons together because where I live, they are both so short in time that they basically comprise only one season, ‘Spummer’. This year cold temperatures have lingered, so doing anything in the yard has been limited. It’s no fun raking up debris from winter, when the temperature is 6 degrees and there’s a northern wind.

In Canada, the third Monday in May is a long-weekend for the workforce. An extra day for recreation, that your employer pays you to take. The May long-weekend is traditionally the start of the non-winter months. A time for camping and opening up cottages. In the Big City there are normally festivals and events to entertain the populous. The May long-weekend is a time to get out of the house and shake off the winter past. Not so much this year though. In the year of the COVID 2020, the May long-weekend has taken on a new look and getting out of the house mostly means me and the lawnmower spending some self-isolating time together.

Depending on where you are on this planet, the restrictions on recreation and travel, as well as social interaction vary. For us it is groups of 10… 2 metres (6 ft) apart… in the open air… and no loud talking because your spit goes farther…  Ok I added that last one. Masks are recommended when you cannot stay apart the prescribed distance, and you cannot travel outside a determined area, if you do, you must self-isolate for 14 days. The long-weekend is only 3 days, so don’t cross the line!

This is not that different than many countries as stay-at-home restrictions are relaxed, region by region. The benefit we have derived from our sacrifices hinges on how we behave next. The May long-weekend will be our litmus test, and two weeks after it, we will have our results. Will the killer virus go charging through our ranks or have we contained it in our region?

I, for one, feel positive that in my area we have good control on the situation, and that the capacity in my province to medically deal with any outbreak that should occur, is in place. I feel if we adhere to some common sense practices, that we will be safe this May long-weekend as we start to re-gather. Just follow the simple rules and guidelines that our healthcare professionals have put in place and we will all be fine. I feel that if we are careful in our return to social interaction for the next few weeks, we will all survive this.

It was my birthday this May long-weekend and GenCo and the kids were coming for a BBQ. Honey and I set out seating on the patio so we would be socially-distanced. The kid’s toys were set away from Honey and I, so they could play at a safe distance. Honey even hosed them down for safe measure, even though any bacteria that might have been there since last summer is long dead. The weather was beautiful as we sipped our ‘Cobra Libres’ on the patio and waited for our family to arrive.

Okay… I broke the rules! I saw my grandchildren and there was hugging! I know!!! But I couldn’t stop myself!! I’m so weak!! They came towards me with outstretched arms!! They’re just little!! It was an automatic reflex!!! I couldn’t tell them to stop, it’s been twelve weeks!!!

Since I had already crossed the line and had technically infected us both by my actions, and she would say such to the COVID police, Honey had no issue participating in the hugging. Then, Parker and Reid discovered the toys and they were off to play, unfazed that anything unusual had happened. Honey and I watched them as we sat and had drinks with GenCo around the patio. We talked and laughed, and even though we have had contact over the last few months, it was different. Even with the proximity rules of social-distancing, being together yet apart, it felt good to be in the same location. I didn’t know how much I missed it.

I know I have made fun of the fact that I don’t come from a family of huggers, and truthfully, I don’t. To me, physical contact between friends is a hand-shake or a fist-bump, there is no hugging. In other cultures, this form of greeting is common and when it happens to me in the Dominican Republic, it freaks me out! I’m not comfortable hugging a stranger the first time we meet. With everything that has transpired maybe this practice will stop, or at least diminish to people I know personally. That would definitely improve my comfort level when it comes to hugging.

But I know the value of a hug. I understand what a hug does for us. A hug has an energy that words do not. It tells others we care and we love, and it brings warmth and cheer to our souls. It is simple in its action and profound in its meaning. A hug gives us a sense of kinship, of belonging with others, and as much as this Grumpa hates to admit it… it feels damn good!


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