Present Day, April 4th, 2020

FURLOUGH – day 6A

Today was cancelation day. A sad day in a series of sad days. In a sad period of history. I had been putting it off for a few weeks and decided today to bite the bullet and get it over with.

My daughter is a senior at NYU. In case you do not have any children in school you may not make the connection that this has become a very awful year to be a senior. Four years of hard work are coming to a very awkward and abrupt ending. Though maybe abrupt is the wrong word. It is more like a suspended ending. An endpoint that is a moving target with no finality yet to be determined. All the pomp and circumstance on hold like a phone call where you wonder if anyone will ever pick-up the line.

Her being a senior meant that I had travel plans. My first trip to New York was on the books. I had faced all my anxiety and apprehension about traveling to such a mammoth city of hustle and bustle and turned it into excitement. Flight. AirBNB. All the arrangements were in place for four days of site seeing, and celebration with her. At the centerpiece of it all were her graduation and commencement ceremonies at such iconic places as Radio City Music Hall and Yankee Stadium respectively.

That was all pre-Covid-19. Now it has all been “postponed”. Her classes are finishing up remotely, and the celebrations are up in the air. At what point does postponed become canceled? At what point does postponed become irrelevant to her life and moving forward into the next phase? Because right now, we have no idea at what point all this comes to an end.

When the postponement was first announced I held off on any cancelations. I thought it might work out that I would still go to New York to see her. To be with her. To let her be my tour guide, and just enjoy the father/daughter time together. However, as time passed, it became clear that New York was not going to be a place to travel to. Not by mid-May. Not for quite some time to come. But I still could not get myself to do it. I felt like I would be a part of crushing her dream. That I would be playing a role in bringing an inappropriate end to her journey.

Today I moved forward with the cancelations. Not sure why I picked today. I merely found myself at my computer with nothing else to do, staring at the confirmation emails for my bookings, and realizing it was time.

My heart breaks for my daughter. She, like so many other people, is being robbed of something valuable. Granted, not as valuable as a life, but nevertheless something very significant. There is a finality to a graduation ceremony. A pride in the accomplishment that it represents. There is something to family traveling from afar to join with you in celebrating the culmination of years of hard work, which at this point of your life, make up a fairly significant percentage of your existence. That is being taken from her, and I hurt for her. I mourn for her.

I also mourn my loss as her parent. The joy that comes when you hear your child’s name called out and they walk across that stage. The warmth that comes with seeing her face-to-face and knowing she is well and she has done well. The love that is difficult to express over hundreds of miles as compared to in the embrace of a hug.

Like everyone, my life is surrounded by unknown. I do not know if the trip will get rescheduled or when. More difficult, I do not know when I will get to see my daughter again. I spend my days overwhelmed with thoughts for her safety in the epicenter of this unrelenting virus. I spend my nights hoping that there will be a cosmic reset button that puts life back on track with where it was before all hell broke loose.

Today was cancelation day. A sad day in a series of sad days. In a sad period of history.

Present Day, March 12th, 2018

It seemed so bright for 4 a.m. Too bright. A quick look out the window explained the reason. A significant snow had fallen. From the view of the bedroom window, maybe as much as six inches. Which in this town typically means shut down. As in, life shut down.

Which caused me a bit of a predicament at this early hour because I had never before had a “snow day” at this workplace. Would I receive a text? Would they post it on the local TV channels? Would they even shut down due to a snowfall? All of which meant that the two and a half more hours of sleep I had waiting for me, in either event, was now shot to hell.

When six o’clock rolled around I decided to grab my phone and check in on the snow closings. Sure enough, there near the top of the list (as our company name starts with an “a” followed by a “c”) was the indication that we were closed for the day. (Ironically enough, and unbeknownst to me until later…not because of snow, but because of a power outage caused by the snow. Thus meaning, I still do not know if we in fact shut down for snow.)

A few snooze alarms and FitBit notifications later¬†(don’t ask), and I actually managed to fall back asleep. Most likely in the 6:45 range, but regardless my next significant¬†conscious moment didn’t come until around 8:25. A nice additional block of sleep to help compensate for the previously lost.

Bring on stressor¬†number two. Being closed doesn’t mean the customers that direct work my way will be shut down today. Meaning double the work will be awaiting me tomorrow. Maybe not a huge deal in a normal week. However, this is not a normal week. It is my birthday week. Which means I am scheduled to utilize my free day off on Friday and enjoy an extended weekend. Alas, a four-day week is now a three-day week.

I was texting the same thoughts with a co-worker who ended the conversation with “try to enjoy the day off.” I am pretty sure she was sensing that I was probably more stressed about the work awaiting tomorrow then I was focused on enjoying the free day that had fallen into my lap today. She would be correct.

Seeing the pattern here? I imagine most people would flashback to 4 a.m. and respond with something like… “Looking like a snow day!!!” Then they would check back in around alarm time, and enter into a true celebration of the gift that is a day away from work (and/or school).

Not me. Not my mind. Not that simple.

The difference is not the reasonableness of stress or the unknown. It is more the management thereof. I assume everyone experiences some curiosity as to if they will get the day off. Everyone likely wants to make sure they get accurate information rather than guess about staying home from work. Everyone probably thinks ahead to the fact that a double day of work will likely be awaiting them. But not everyone obsesses about any of the above. Or loses valuable sleep due to them. Or sees a day slip away in stress rather the enjoyment of “didn’t see this coming when I went to bed.”

Obsessive minds do. Racing minds do. My mind does.

4 a.m. was almost 10 hours ago. The good news is, I seem to have it all under control now, and with still a good six or seven hours of a day to enjoy. I’m sure the panic will come back as the sun sets. That’s just part of it. But for now, it is a half a snow day to enjoy, at the launch of an unpredictable three-day work week.