Although you’re both quite young, you both know we’ve entered uncertain times. Charlie, you know this much more so than your baby sister as you’ve had to stop going to school, and can’t play with your friends like you used to. Our spring break trip to the beach was canceled, ski season ended early, and, well, now you’re stuck at home with both your mom and dad and a baby. That’s a lot to deal with, isn’t it? Darcy, this crisis narrative will be a prominent feature of your early life, but I consider us lucky that you were born before the virus came close to home. On future playdates you’ll get to know lots of friends who will say, “I was born during quarantine.” For you, being home with your big brother, mom, and dad is really all that you know. Although you’re just shy of six months old, I can tell that you are like your brother and are a keen observer. You too know that something just isn’t right, be it how your dad wears a mask when he leaves the house, or how we make sure to give others plenty of room on the sidewalk when we go for our daily walks.
You’re both observing us closely these days, because, well, who else is around? We’re trying hard to watch what we say about the coronavirus crisis, but we also want you, Charlie, to know about it too since it’s the reason you can’t go to school and why we’re insisting on much more frequent handwashing than usual. We want you to know that although there’s a lot about the virus we don’t know, we do know about the everyday superheroes who are working so hard to treat people who are sick and finding a cure.
We want you to know that the world is an uncertain place and that it’s OK. We’re trying to find a good path through uncertainty. Just as you two know from our family hikes, these treks aren’t always easy and require a good bit of perseverance to make it up to the top. We just keep placing one foot in front of the other. Adaptability is an important life lesson, and boy are we learning this with trying to homeschool and run a business from our kitchen table. What you both show us each day is the brilliant energy of creativity – how an empty box of diapers becomes a castle and those new ways of seeing things help your dad and me look a bit closer at the world, and how we want the world to look.
You’re probably tired of hearing us say, “wash your hands!” There’s a very valuable lesson in those soap bubbles, besides good hygiene. It’s called caring for others. We don’t want our friends or neighbors to get sick. We have friends and relatives who have gotten sick with COVID-19 and we want them to get better as soon as possible. That’s why we wash our hands. It’s not only to get slime/paint/mud off our hands. It’s to make sure that our community and our world is healthy and safe.
Your dad and I don’t have all the answers, but you knew that even before this. We hope that you’ll give us some grace when our fuses are short or when we just can’t do another puppet show after the 89th act. These lessons we hope to impart. But here’s the clincher: you’re teaching us these virtues too. Thanks for the very hands-on lesson.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.