So, this happened last week.

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Eight days of cruise ship magic and wonder, evening entertainment, limeades and margaritas, karaoke and water slides, three international ports, all punctuated with an exclamation mark of a day at Disney World.

So, basically, we did all the things that they say you shouldn’t be doing right now.

We have long wanted to do a family cruise, and when we found a week that worked for all eight of us, we booked it, like you do. No, it didn’t align with spring break, and no, that didn’t stop me. A few emails, a list of assignments, and good relationships with your teachers will solve that little hiccup.

(Listen. Lean in close. My family knows sadness and loss. We know about happiness that doesn’t happen because you waited too long to book the trip. So when the stars align and the dates open up, we book the trip. The happiness happens as soon as possible.)

There is way less Coronavirus panic on the ship, let me tell you. And I’m sure that’s intentional; surely they’re not going to tell us every blip on the radar of concerns and crises. For example, we were supposed to port on four different islands. At the very last minute, one of those ports was cancelled. The word on the boat was that it was too windy, and I imagined the times when I’ve been driving on icy roads, intent on turning left… except then my car slid past that left turn and I discovered, this machine is in charge. It’s not turning on the ice today.

So I thought maybe docking a ship in the wind is like that, and maybe that was the case. Maybe it really was a little too windy to navigate the left turn to the island.

But, also, maybe that island decided they weren’t taking any risks today. Maybe they cast their eyes on our ship and said, “Sail away, folks. Nothing to see, buy, breathe, or contaminate here. Take your dirty hands elsewhere.” And so we sailed on. Maybe it was too windy… or maybe we were uninvited to the party.

There were a few questions that emerged over and over:
How fast do you think we’re going right now?
How deep do you think the water is right here?
And what crisis do you think they’re keeping from us right now?

And then we raised our glass for another virgin daquiri. Because you can’t live in fear. Might as well pour another.

When we booked our Caribbean cruise, the Coronavirus wasn’t a thing. I didn’t even think about buying toilet paper before we left, and then I came back to learn that there are a handful of cases of Corona in our area, and apparently all of the toilet paper in the state is gone.

Panic has hit the suburbs, you guys. Toilet paper is now exclusively available on a black market basis.

No Coronavirus symptoms at my house.  Nobody’s sick here, not a single symptom. But nerves are twitchy out there, and if you say you’ve been to another country, on a cruise ship, or in a large crowd at an entertainment theme park, people get alarmed. They give the side-eye. They subtly put on their masks. They cancel play dates and they rearrange appointments.

I’m not an alarmist, and I don’t have to stay home. Should and Could are two different words, though.

We have a sign on our refrigerator that reads simply: What does love require of you today? It’s our reminder to keep love first, to behave in ways that make other people feel most loved. Do the most loving thing always.

Should we stay home?  Not necessarily.  Could we stay home?  In the name of loving the people who are worried?  Sure we could.

And so, as the boys got ready for school this morning, it became clear to me: Love Requires us to Self Quarantine.

To be clear: We are fine. But our community is worried. So we can stay home for a few days.

In related news, this choice has allowed me to try my hand at homeschooling. This morning, we are reading The Outsiders and doing geometry. My children miss their friends, but they had no idea I could navigate books and angles.

If anyone needs us, we’ll be here washing our hands, loving you from a social distance. Please send toilet paper.

 

p.s. This weekend’s retreat of The Pen and The Page in Colorado Springs is ON.  Bring your pens and your notebooks, my friends.  Our weekend is sold out, and I’m told Glen Eyrie even has toilet paper.

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