It’s been ten months since isolation, quarantine, no touching, mask wearing and distancing were established as sensible rules to at least try to avoid the Covid virus.
Lack of food or nutrition is one kind of starvation. Another is the loss of connection through touch.
I learned early, as the child of an alcoholic, to let go of expectation. Surely, I thought, at least for my birthday, the drinking could stop; we could have a peaceful time at least for that one day. But no. I was too young to understand the compulsion generated by a gene and the difficulty in resisting that. I was simply hurt.
I expected that the love for a child could override the need for a drink, if only for one day. There had been brief spates of being “on the wagon”; why not one for my birthday? On that one day, I hoped I might feel like a child who was loved. I did not understand that, at any given time, the craving for alcohol could override any other consideration.
Letting go of expectations has proved to be a valuable tool. And somehow optimism was not crushed. Disappointment, I learned, was based on expectation. If I didn’t expect a certain outcome, then I would not be disappointed. Without expectation, without that projection into the future, be it near or far, I was safe.
So yesterday when, after the usual cleaning, the dentist did his exam, lifting my tongue, peering into my mouth for anything missed or aberrant, and gently probing my neck for swollen or tender lymph nodes, I surprised even myself when I said (being “old” I can say just about anything), “Oh, that feels SO good”, and he kept up the gentle massage for a while longer. It had been months since I had felt that kind of caring touch.
And when my granddaughter says, when we can be together again, we will be like that really tough velcro that you can hardly pull apart, I welcome that.
It has been so long.