Just over a year ago, February 10th to be exact, my husband, now-middle-son, and I took a wonderful baby-moon type vacation at our favorite place, St. Petersburg, Florida. It was as wonderful as a vacation could be. We enjoyed the beach, shopping, and eating at our favorite restaurants without a care in the world.
Little did we know how different the world would soon be.
By the time we went on vacation I had heard about the virus in China, but I hadn’t imagined that it would get as out of control as it did. Now, when we get a little cough or sniffle, we wonder if it is COVID. When we got back from that vacation, both my husband and I were quite sick, and even then, COVID didn’t cross my mind. I’ll always wonder if we caught it when we were in Florida.
Within two weeks of coming back from our vacation, Coronavirus memes were circling on social media, and more news of it in the United States was appearing. I remember, particularly after the Nashville tornado around that same time, meeting with a lady from Nashville to donate some baby items and being concerned when she shook my hand since I had been hearing about cases there. This was also around the time when toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer started disappearing from store shelves.
One month after we got home from our trip, both my third grader and I (a university student) had been switched to home learning, though initially both of our schools were counting on it only being for two weeks. That is both sad and funny in retrospect. Also at this point, I was worried about my husband’s job since the churches were closing and he works for one.
Looking back on our vacation, I am not sure if I could have predicted what was coming. I remember our last evening there, standing on the beach, watching the sun go down, and having tears running down my face and I wasn’t sure why. I’ve always been quite intuitive, so maybe I just knew, but also a beautiful sunset gets me every time.
I will always look back at that trip remembering the last bit of normalcy in our lives and wishing I had appreciated the little things more, like going into a busy gift shop with my toddler, not wearing masks and getting into our hotel elevator and not having to worry if others were going to join us.