Lockdowns, sanitizers, masks, fines, travel restrictions, etc., it’s almost two years since everything started going crazy, and we all froze in our perspective places. It all started gradually without anyone really noticing. I went to Pakistan in February 2020 for my nephew’s wedding, and passengers were getting a fever check before the immigration line in Karachi. It appeared odd, but I didn’t really pay much attention in my haste to get out. I really noticed when France closed everything, and it seemed so bizarre at that time and life as we knew it ceased to exist. Millions of lives were lost, economies suffered tremendous losses, and billions of people suffered in many ways. After two years, we are a bit closer to normalcy, but travel, as we knew, is a thing of the past. A vaccine, mandatory for most airline travel, will ensure travel without too much trouble, but you have to get a virus test done before travel and upon return. Travel changes are only one aspect of our new reality. My handbags, the car always have extra masks and sanitizers.
When it all started, my family had the good fortune to be at home and spend quality time with each other. What did we come away with from our at-home experience? My kids tease me that I have learned nothing since I seldom leave home anyway. I truly enjoyed the company of my teenage kids, and they learned to hang around with us, learned to appreciate being at home. Yes, too much screening but a lot of bonding as well. My son, who was ready to leave the nest for college, stayed with us, another blessing. My daughter started taking an interest in cooking, finally (I thought that was never happening). My son fed us some good food such as spectacularly grilled salmon (his own recipe), sourdough bread topped with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella (his own recipe), etc. I started my memorization again and practiced my recitation.
Every experience has a lesson and a memory. Ours was that we were fine without too many things and too much traveling. Our kids learned that family does come first above all else and really enjoyed hanging at home. I knew that my teenage kids were compassionate and mature would-be adults. Most importantly, my youngest spent a beautiful time with all of the family, especially her older siblings. The stay-at-home family intimacy was precious and an experience we all benefitted tremendously from and will always cherish.