It’s funny what got this thought started in my head. I was sitting on the floor of my shower, exfoliating my feet. Yep, I know; gross. For my men who don’t what that is, it’s when you use something abrasive to scrub off the scratchy dead skin and make it soft and smooth again. Trust me, you are glad we do it. Anyway, there I was scrubbing my feet and I thought, “It seems like just yesterday I was scrubbing my feet to get them pretty for summer flip flops and bare feet in the sand.” Then I felt a pang of sadness. Summer is over. It slipped right by while we were clinging to our masks and holding our breath that the pool and the theme park would open and we would galavant about in the sunshine like we usually do. Those things never happened, and here we are ankle-deep in colored leaves already with not a tan line to show for it.
I know I’m not the only one wondering where summer went and what we have to show for it. Thankfully we were able to spend some time away at our family camp site, and we sneaked away for a short trip when some things started opening back up, but there are a lot of “normals” that we missed out on this summer, and it wasn’t just us. People everywhere had to miss family reunions, vacations, trips they had been planning forever, even time visiting grandparents in their skilled nursing facilities. There was a lot of loss, even if we didn’t realize that’s what it was.
If ever there was a time to be gentle with each other, it’s now. As a whole we are grieving. The more comfortable life we knew before COVID. The peace of mind to be closely with our people and not worry about getting them sick. The moments in the sunshine and the grocery and the swimming pool that maybe we took for granted last year, but are trying to fill with something else in their absence now. Perhaps we can not see enough of an eye crinkle above your mask to know you are smiling, but it’s a perfect time to shout a good morning, to give an unexpected compliment, to bring some warmth to the cold parts we are all experiencing.
If I’m orange from self-tanner by December, you will know why, and if my eyes look weary because we still have to wear a mask to get into the grocery, you will understand that too. But I’ll be trying to bring a little more light to your day, and I hope you will be doing the same.