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When we began self-isolating in mid-March, I, naively, thought it would just be a couple of weeks. Joseph had just taken his first steps, and I imagined his first Easter egg hunt while spending the holiday with my family. Days, and then weeks, began to pass, loaf after loaf of bread baked and consumed. I thought, “Surely we will be together for Mom’s birthday.” 

The last time I had seen my mom was Joseph’s 1st birthday on February 14th. We had a party with family and a few friends. Through this isolation, it took me a while to realize how long it had been since I hugged my mom. I have been missing her, more than normal, because I know I have to keep a distance. Isn’t that when you want something the most? When you can’t have it?

My mom celebrated her 66th birthday on April 26, 2020. I have always been there to celebrate with her unless I was physically kept away by distance, and this year was no different. We made plans to visit my mom while maintaining social distance. I knew my mom was a bit hesitant to have us there. It is almost easier for her to not see us at all, than to see us and not be able to hug us, Joseph especially. It seemed that the weather was also trying to keep us away, but I was not about to let it deter me.

I just needed to be around my mom, I didn’t care if I couldn’t snuggle up to her. 

We packed the car up and drove the hour and a half to my parent’s home. We spent the next few hours visiting in their yard, seated a minimum of 2 metres apart, Joseph playing in the grass as though nothing were amiss. It was very windy, so we flew a kite, and when it got too cold, we got blankets. We talked, drank coffee while donning latex gloves, the only time we could see each other’s smiles from behind our face masks. My mom commented about how she missed my smile. I commented on how I missed her hugs. 

This new reality comes with plenty of challenges, but the biggest so far is the uncertainty of when I can hug those I love the most. Not just my family here, but my partner’s family in Mexico, who can no longer come visit this summer. I feel sad for his parents who are missing precious time with their grandson. I find myself missing all of our family and friends, and

I am making a promise to never take for granted time with them in the future.  

It really isn’t easy raising a child. In isolation, it is even harder. For Joseph’s sake, I am trying to remain positive that it won’t be too much longer before we are at the playground with his best buds Hank, Rudy, Rora, and Austin; or that it won’t be long before he, once again, gets to feel the hugs of all those amazing people we call family. 

-Sarah Lafontaine

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