Healthy 10th Birthday, Choo Choo!

A decade ago right now, Mommy and I were preparing to go to Foothills Medical Centre. There, Mommy would have a caesarian section and you would be pulled forth into this world — not of woman borne! — with your arm draped around your neck like a feather boa, safe and sound.

Well, mostly. That whole anti-K thing and all, as we remind you of every now and then. Which is almost a bizarre parallel to today: almost immediately after you were born, the doctors wanted to whisk you away to the NICU to ensure that the anti-K situation wasn’t affecting your health. You were isolated.

Ten years later, you’re isolated again. This time, none of our doing (biological or otherwise), but because of COVID-19. You’re spending your birthday apart from nearly everyone but your family.

You had wanted a grand party for today, and had selected a pretty cool venue: Petland. With lots of animals and friends and cake and food and fun and … it was all cancelled. Everything non-essential is closing, or has already closed. School was cancelled, all classes for the rest of the school year. I hope you might remember this year for the longest summer ever, but who knows what is yet to come with restrictions. I’m not sure which you lament more, that you won’t have any friends for your birthday, or that you won’t have the party. You love your animals.

It seems today will be just the four of us. Mostly the three of you, I suppose, since I’m trapped in the basement, working from home. I hadn’t planned it this way, of course, and this is the World’s Lamest Excuse on a day like this while we’re all in this situation (I am in the house, after all), but this is the last card in my hand after playing all the others…

My vacation time this year was planned for next week, March break, as we were going to go Saltspring Island. And with today being a school day, you were originally going to go to school. (Admittedly, that changed, too, but by then my vacation time was all gone.) I was going to see you as much as possible today as I could. That was the plan.

Only three days ago, Sunday the 16th, the Government cancelled all classes. School out for summer. International travel was effectively banned. Albertans were strongly encouraged to not partake of any non-essential travel, effectively forcing a cancellation of vacation. The day after, my office went into full “work from home” mode, and I became one of the most needed people in the office to ensure that this was going to work.

Two days later, I’m in the basement, wishing I could have avoided this. I am sorry, Choo Choo. I wish this situation were different, very different. I wish I was with you the entire day, not just a part of it. I wish we could have your party, I wish we could go to the coast and see seals and whales and fairy doors. I hope that, somehow, we still manage to make today a good day for you, given the limitations on what we can — what we should responsibly — do.

One day, I hope, we will make this up for you. Maybe you’re 11th will be more memorable for the things we couldn’t do this year. Or, maybe, many years from now, you’ll reminisce on today: “Lemme tell you about my 10th birthday, when the whole world was on quarantine…”

Now that’ll be a story.

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