A little sanitizer now slathered on my hands, I rubbed vigorously, then carefully removed my shoes and hung up my coat. An unexpected trip to the bank to replace a hacked debit card had forced me out of the house, and now, having completed the reentry process- removing rubber gloves, Lysol spraying the new debit card, sanitizing hands – I was ready to join my family, safely in the house again.
Suddenly, I heard the voice of my four-year-old from within the house, “Daddy?! Are you home?”
“Yes, honey, I’m back home,” I responded casually. “How are you?”
Then, “We have friends here!”
Wait, what did she just say?
With the shelter-at-home order still firmly in place in Connecticut, I knew no one should be in the house. Who could possibly be here? I wondered. Slightly unnerved, I cautiously proceeded through my wife’s studio-office toward the main living space. Before this time, the words ‘friends are here’ would have stoked a joyful curiosity. Interesting how not it created a silent panic, a fear now familiar to all living through this period.
Then, turning the corner, there she stood. “See?” she said, greeting me with a huge, impish smile. “Friends are here!” In her delicate, little hands, my daughter held up her brightly-colored, plastic toy laptop- the one that counts and sings nursery rhymes. She held the “laptop” to face me, so that I would look at the nine-paneled display (that lights up to the rhythm). My daughter then shifted her gaze from me to the toy screen. Clearly, she was indicating that we were on a zoom call using her device.
“See?” she repeated. “Friends are here!”
“That’s great, honey,” I said, relaxing. “It’s always so great when we can visit friends, isn’t it?”