Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Hope springs eternal
Spring break 2021 has come and gone in Nevada County. It was not so long ago when a week-long school break meant a scramble for daycare or the implementation of a long-dreamt family adventure. I say not so long ago and realize it has been nearly a decade since our two youngest children graduated from high school. And much longer than that since we had to be concerned about daycare! Now the idea of a family adventure is almost impossible to imagine. Last year, spring break was canceled, and this year it was headline news. Hopefully next year it will return to the fun and sun adventures that lead to lifelong memories.
It really does not feel so long ago when my friends and I planned our own spring break escapades, the remembrances of which are almost sacred. The times were, in many ways, much more innocent and thankfully, largely undocumented. Suffice it to say, we all lived to tell the tales and those tales become more glorious with each passing year.
There was no way those adventurous, carefree teenagers could have foreseen the world we are living in today. Faced with the circumstances of the past year, my posse would have likely ignored the science and taken our collective chances, relying on the spirits (80 proof) to kill any potential virus. We were kids! A global pandemic? That was the stuff of Hollywood! Actually, that is true. According to a quick search on Wikipedia, Hollywood has created an impressive number of movies on the topic of viral outbreaks, from “12 Monkeys” to “Zombieland” and over a 130 more in between. We should have seen it coming!
Spring also brings Easter and tax season. Those two occurrences collided in 1995 when then my mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly on April 15, which happened to fall on the day before Easter. Each year, on either of those occasions as I am reminded of the inevitable – death and taxes— I am propelled back to memories of adventures with her. I remember the gift of a mother’s love that I had, to that moment, only read about in books. She was amazing. She worshiped her grandchildren. And she was a force to be reckoned with, one I dearly miss. She taught me many things I carry with me to this day, the most important being the value I put on my relationships.
Now that we are (hopefully) nearing the end of what has been a horrendously challenging time in our collective history, I have been thinking about what I want to bring with me when the doors reopen.
I know I am not alone in having developed, over the past year, a clear understanding of what is truly valuable. And in case I need to spell it out, it is not the stuff. For me, the relationships I have, and the interactions and shared experiences are my priority.
March 27, 2020, I posted a photo on social media of me with my husband along with a caption about how blessed I felt to be locked down with someone I loved being with. I ended with the hashtag “we could be here for a while.” You know, a few weeks! A month or two at the outset. Over a year later and we are still together! That’s a lot of nights sitting on the sofa, but I would post the message again. It’s not just luck, but I do feel lucky.
I feel bad for our adult children as the world turned upside down at a critical time in their lives. They are young and just launching careers, finding their own path, and developing their own relationships. Life was a challenge before the pandemic, and they are still facing obstacles and experiences no one forecasted. Still, they have come through intact.
This past weekend I was reminded again to bask in the knowledge that our family has come through the pandemic unscathed and that even without an epidemic, the health and well being of loved ones is what is most important.
We had one of the kids over for dinner and a movie. It’s a treat when they make time for us and we enjoyed the evening. We waved goodbye only to get a call about ten minutes later letting us know he had been involved in an accident. A driver had tried crossing at an intersection directly in his path. The first question, “Are you OK?” He was and he is. His vehicle not so much. The force of the truck pushed him into another vehicle that was waiting at a stop sign on the other side of the road. His car, sandwiched between the two, will likely end up in the junkyard. He walked away. The aftermath of the accident is going to be stressful, as it will be difficult to replace the car based on the insured value, but it could have been so much worse! I didn’t think I needed the reminder but got it just the same. There is nothing more important than the health and well being of those we love.
This has been a remarkably stressful time and I see the fatigue all around me. Our interactions with each other matter. As a community, how we have behaved matter. I have this vision of the day the world opens back up. We slowly come out of our homes and take a timid look around before embracing in complete relief and joy. It may not be a Whoville moment with everyone arm in arm singing songs of joy but metaphorically, I hope it is exactly that way. I hope we heal damaged relationships. I hope we rise for the greater good. I hope we remember our values and leave that which does not serve us, behind. Hope springs eternal.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@ gmail.com.
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April is National Poetry Month and the Nevada County Community Library is celebrating with special programs, grab bags and fun activities all month long.