We visited our daughter in Florida last weekend – the first time we’ve seen her in almost a year and a half.

It was a much shorter drive than when we visited our son and his family in Minnesota a few weeks ago. Plus it didn’t involve any overnight stays along the way. Still, we took all the necessary precautions, plus a weekend’s worth of masks and hand sanitizer, as we hit the road. On the few stops we made – for gas or a bathroom break – we put on our masks as we got out of the car, and did our best to keep a safe distance from other people.

Once we got to our daughter’s house and walked in the door, however, COVID disappeared. It was a topic of conversation, of course, and we talked about vaccines, social distancing, mandates, and how the pandemic has affected all of our lives over the past year. And we still wore our masks whenever we went out anywhere, as we did a few times over the weekend. But as we sat together, chatting, catching up, and enjoying each other’s company, life seemed almost normal. And that actually felt a little strange.

I’ve noticed that as we start easing back into the real world, life feels a little like an episode of “The Twilight Zone” – one of those where everything seems normal, but really isn’t. Or in which the world has changed in some crazy, unalterable way, but everyone pretends that it hasn’t, and tries to go on as they always have before.

I feel like I’m becoming obsessed with the idea of “normal,” but I supposed that’s – well, normal – at this point. Especially since we’re starting to get a taste of it.

I’m enjoying the reminders of what life was like before the pandemic. I’m welcoming the opportunity to spend a little more time out and about than I’ve been able to do in the last year. And I’m cherishing being able – cautiously and judiciously – to visit with family and friends once again.

But I’m also reminding myself that we’re not out of the woods yet, and we still need to follow the experts’ advice and common-sense practices, until COVID is a distant memory. Until it’s totally safe for us to spend time with our loved ones – in large crowds as well as in small gatherings. And until normal truly feels normal once again.

April 25, 2021
©Betty Liedtke, 2021

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