Time for me to fess up. I have recently been diagnosed with a malady that is becoming increasingly common among people my age. During this pandemic, there is more than one virus with which to be concerned. Apparently, I have been infected by it.
It’s called Grand-Sep-A-20 or GSA-20 for short.
A few weeks ago, I started feeling the initial effects — a little depressed, low energy, bored with life, including what some may call an identity crisis. If I am honest, my condition has further deteriorated in recent weeks. I fear things will get worse before this gets better.
They tell me this is only temporary. There is a remedy, one that is 100% effective. Unfortunately, it may be a few more weeks before I will have access to this guaranteed cure.
What is GSA-20, you ask?
Grandparent Separation Anxiety – 2020. That’s right, being separated from my grandchildren during the current COVID-19 pandemic has had severe repercussions. Spending time with my grands has always been a source of joy, my joie de vivre. Their non-stop questions kept me mentally alert, or at the very least, entertained.
Where else can I learn new words like “pooptoot?”
Playing chase boosted my energy levels and even helped my sleeping. There really is such a thing as being “good and tired.”
Reading The Wonky Donkey (over and over) served to increase my knowledge of precious childhood humor. My critical thinking skills were challenged having to answer questions like “Poppy, do leopards leap?”
Yet another symptom of GSA-20 has also surfaced. I am beginning to question who I am. No one calls me Poppy anymore. After eight years in this new “Poppy” role, I was finally operating at full capacity only to come to an abrupt halt.
Quick stops are painful for Poppys.
I am beginning to feel old again. Just when rasslin’ (aka wrestling), playing tag, or a game of hide-and-seek had made me feel years younger, now, I am stuck at home, tending a garden, and watching the History Channel.
Who can I tell funny stories about my children to?
When can I get back to telling my children, “I remember when you were that age and you…?”
When do I get a play date (babysit) again?
Yes, my GSA-20 symptoms are reaching a critical level. This Poppy NEEDS A REAL HUG! You know what I am talking about — the kind of bear-like hug that puts a smile on your face, makes you giggle, and warms your heart for days. These are the kind of hugs I have been missing. That’s the ultimate cure for GSA-20. If you don’t believe me, consider the wisdom of PEANUTS Charlie Brown — “I love the kind of hug where you can feel the sadness leave your body.” Amen, Charlie, Amen.
There is one redeeming thing — I had time to invent a new acronym. TGFF — Thank God For FaceTime. A virtual hug is better than no hug at all.
Nevertheless, the world must know – I’m a Poppy, and I am not OK.
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Note to Readers: During this current pandemic, as one commentator put it, we may be in the same storm, but many of us are in different boats. In other words, our experiences vary. Some have become sick, while others have suffered a personal loss (family or financial). Still, others have had to deal with isolation, loneliness, despair, and fear. Many of us have simply been inconvenienced or had to endure a forced stay-at-home-vacation. Regardless, many people may find humor during such a time as inappropriate. To those of you who feel this way, I beg your indulgence. Humanity has often dealt with adversity through humor. Keeping a sense of humor is recognized as a valuable tool in maintaining self-control and avoiding becoming obsessed with the negative. In other words, it is a powerful coping mechanism.
The American author, Mary Pettibone Poole succinctly wrote: “He who laughs, lasts.”
The English writer, Lord Byron encouraged all to: “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”
The French poet, Victor Hugo reminds us that, “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”
James 1:2-4: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
It is with this in mind that I occasionally use humor to stare at life’s awkward and painful moments. It is my way of saying, “I choose to fight, I will not give up.”
I pray you do too.