On Tuesday, we had a couple of big things going on. First of all, I had to do my first presentation of a new webinar I developed recently, and deliver it our organization’s national audience. It would be a few hundred people and it was my first time doing it “live,” which in this case means standing in front my laptop in our guest room/play room.

I have to admit, this one snuck up on me. I built the presentation a little while ago and had to turn it in over a month ago so it could be reviewed and such. And the actual presenting it part seemed really far away. So I didn’t give it a ton of thought until it finally hit me like a ton of bricks on Monday that the day had come, and hey I better do some preparing.

So prepare I did, going back to my usual college playbook of throwing everything together at the last possible moment. All in all it went fairly well, even if I did stumble a few times and my timing wasn’t spot on. The good or bad news, depending how you look at it, is that I have to deliver the presentation again on Thursday, so I’ll have another shot to smooth it out a little.

The other noteworthy point of the day was that the day had at last come for Henry and Amelia to get a hair cut. It had been a while and Henry especially looked like a sheepdog, with his hair totally over his eyes. What struck me as funny was how excited he was for the haircut.

I think Henry knows he has awesome hair, and has actually come to like the whole ritual of getting his hair cut. In fact, when I was driving them over, he got very adamant with me about wanting to go into the salon by himself. I said no, there laws against that kind of thing and generally 4 year olds don’t go into places of business without adult supervision. He settled for my letting him go to the seat by himself.


He did great, chatting it up with his stylist and doing a great job. Amelia came along, at first not sure if she wanted her haircut, but she did decide she wanted the pampering, too.


The kids came out looking great. We went home with that in the plus column. But there were also some bits of news to file into the minus column.

First of all, we found out that my mom back in Wisconsin has tested positive for COVID. It does appear that her case is fortunately mild, and she is suffering severe cold-like symptoms right now, but of course it is always a little scary. Fingers are crossed for a quick recovery. 

And second of all, my sister Rosemary and her family had been planning for quite some time to come out for Thanksgiving. We’d been wavering a little bit about whether to do it, but a few days ago ultimately decided that since we were all following tight precautions, we could try it. Well, this case close to home did accentuate the fact that, as many, many other families around the country has come to realize, it isn’t worth the risk. They are going to postpone their visit and all of us are going to play it safe this year.

It was the right decision, of course, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck the big one. We were really, really looking forward to having them out here. At one point we even planned on spending some time up in the mountains. The recent COVID spike has changed all of that. Yes, those times will still be ther for us when all this is over, but it’s still super disappointing and sad.

Probably worst of all was having to break the news to the kids. We had to explain to them, once again, that things are different right now and we just have to be safe. We ordered pizza for a school fundraiser, and over dinner we told them that Grandma is sick, and we are hoping for her quick recovery, and that their cousins also aren’t going to be able to come because it just just too risky right now.

The kids, Amelia especially, were heartbroken. She took turns sitting in Erin’s and my laps, and crying. She had so been looking forward to this for such a long time, and this is really hard. 

We told her it is absolutely OK to be sad. We told her all of us grown ups are sad, too. We told her that we are going to do our best to make our family Thanksgiving fun, but of course it wouldn’t be the same. We told her we are living in scary times and we really need to be extra careful so everyone stays healthy.

We all know it was the right decision. We all know we need to stay safe right now. And I know I’m not alone among parents…I’m tired of having to let my kids down. For all of us, this year has been delivering that let down over, and over, and over again. It’s like Groundhog’s Day, except instead of each day starting with “I’ve Got You Babe,” it starts with “I’m Sorry.”

It’s hard, and I know we are all struggling right now. This sucks. We are living through a nightmare that is absolutely the result of negligent leadership and the inability of our fellow citizens to make the smallest of sacrifices to help minimize the spread of this virus. Yes, we would be dealing with it one way or another, but it absoulately did not have to be this bad. I may say more about that in another post, because I do have pretty strong feelings about it, but tonight I’m admittedly a little on the tired side and still processing all of this. So I will just say, wear a goddamn mask. 

On the bright side, we are probably raising one of the toughest, most resilient generations in centuries. Our kids have had to bob and weave and adapt to so much. I look at Amelia and Henry and marvel at how strong they are. I can’t wait to see what they are going to accomplish. I try to keep that in mind in those moments when I’m hugging my daughter and telling her it’s going to be OK while I’m holding back my own tears.