I've always been extremely close with my parents. Aside from the few years of normal teenage angst, I've never not wanted to be around them. I grew up loving our family vacations and quirky holiday traditions, and as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that my parents really are two of my best friends. So when this pandemic hit and I could suddenly no longer be around them, it affected me in a really slow, weird way. Yes, I could still talk to them every day, but I really, really miss hugging my mom and dad.
All the little things became the things I cherished the most. Now they're gone again, and I'm not sure when we'll be able to have them back.
I'm lucky enough to live just 20 minutes away from my parents. I moved away from home for close to eight years after college, and when I was gone, I missed being able to randomly drive to their house for dinner, sleep in my own bed, go shopping with my mom, or watch movies with my dad. I missed being home. So when I moved back, all of those little things became the things I cherished the most. Now they're gone again, and I'm not sure when we'll be able to have them back.
I live with my husband in an apartment in the city, while my parents are in their house in the suburbs. And since my husband is a police officer and can't avoid working with the public, I can't risk exposing my parents to anything he potentially brings home. My dad also had open-heart surgery last year and has a history with pneumonias, so we're being extra careful to keep our distance. Our visits now consist of me driving by their house and waving or talking to them from the far end of the driveway while they stay on the front porch. I know it's a luxury to still be able to see them since we live in the same state, but being so close to them while still being so far away just really sucks. I miss the extra squeeze my mom gives me every time she sees me, no matter if the last time was the day before, and I miss the tight and comforting hugs from my dad that make me feel like everything's going to be OK. And with everything going on in the world right now, I could really use one. I may be in my 30s, but I will never outgrow needing a hug from my parents.
If this pandemic has taught me anything, it's that it really is the little things in life that matter most: being able to walk into my parents' house on a humid Summer night for a backyard barbecue; being able to take a drive with them to go visit my sister one state over; being able to go on a family vacation together; being able to sit around the dining room table on holidays and share memories; being able to hear their laughter up close.
As I look ahead and think about what life will be like once this pandemic is over, I'm unsure about so many things. But the one thing I do know? I really can't wait to hug my parents.