Yesterday afternoon, I was reading the newspaper in our Family Room. In doing so, I noticed a news story that was directly applicable to our family. So I texted my kids with the marked-up photo above and wrote: “You guys made the newspaper! Congratulations!”
It was a dumb Dad Joke. Still, Olivia humored me and responded by text. “Life will be a little different now that the paparazzi will swarm us everywhere we go, but I think we can handle it!”
Seriously, though, we’re making it through this whole isolation / quarantine thing. Elliot actually finished his quarantine today. So we’re very glad that he’s made a full recovery and can now serve as our “boots on the ground” as needed. Olivia must stay in isolation until Wednesday and Cor until Thursday. And if Marci or I were to be asked, “Are the flowers blooming in Houston?” we could still answer in the negative. So, we should also be free on Thursday, as long as we stay symptom-free. It hasn’t been our favorite week of all time, but we’re very glad that there haven’t been any medical complications. We’re coming out on the other side. Thanks to God… and a little help from our friends.
After dark on Wednesday Night (Saint Patrick’s Day), someone knocked loudly at the front of our house. They were gone by the time I got to the door, however. They left a gift bag. It was full of weird green things (most likely purchased from the Dollar Store). Along with two notes: one addressed to Elliot, the other addressed to Olivia. The notes read like instructions to be inducted into a secret society. But it was really just some extra-creative, extra-thoughtful love from two of their friends: Noah and Gena.
Later in the week, Noah and Gena came and parked their car across the street from our house. Elliot and Olivia crawled out of the window in Olivia’s room, onto the roof of our front porch to talk, while Noah and Gena hung out of their car’s window and sun-roof. It was a show of extravagant love that was amplified by the fact that these were teenagers. Anytime an adolescent can demonstrate care and concern for someone other than themselves is a pretty big deal. But especially under the present circumstances, I’ve been deeply moved by these friends’ consideration of my kids.
They’re not the only ones. Olivia’s friends Grace and Brigid have stopped by almost every day. They’ll talk — across the lawn — for an hour or more at a time! And again, these are teenagers! I’ve witnessed my kids showing extravagant love to each other, as well: lifting each other up in times of difficulty and discouragement. Our friend Bri, from H2O, is slightly older. Still, I was so touched when brought us some cookies, chips, a smoothie, and a card — even though she’s a Kent State University student who only has a part-time job! This COVID-19 thing has tested the mettle of this generation, of course, but I’m telling you: all of these young people give me great hope for the future.
Our adult friends have also been very kind and supportive. Riverwood Community Chapel bought us a meal from Bob Evans. My parents dropped off three different kinds of ice cream, and they also let us use their cable television subscription to set Elliot and Cor up for watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament from their isolation chambers. When my boys started their second annual “March Muffin Madness” Three-Point Contest in our driveway on Friday, I asked if anyone on our Staff Team might be going to Acme Fresh Market sometime over the weekend — where they might be able to pick up some actual muffins from the promotion that leant its name to their contest. And within an hour, our friend Lindsay was at our doorstep with muffins… and more.
The Slacks have loved us especially well over the past week. Lindsay’s “clutch-shooting” with March Muffin Madness was one example. But so was the Dairy Queen run they provided the night we got our first positive tests for COVID-19. And then Jason helped to facilitate a weekend tradition for me and the kids. He took our “order” by text and then drove to Panera to pick up the goods and drop them off at our doorstep. He even included a jigsaw puzzle, to keep us occupied. It was so thoughtful. And so appreciated.
We may still experience some bumps in our road to recovery. But we feel hopeful that we’re going to make it. Thanks to God… and a little help from our friends.