So, March was some kind of month, right? What a nightmare on a truly global scale. As of this writing,I’m relieved to say my family and I are healthy and doing ok. I certainly hope you and yours are doing well,too. What a shock to our collective systems, though, to be thrust into this new normal. Was it only a few weeks ago when we lived in a world without using the terms “social distancing,”or “flattening the curve?” I had never heard of the website, “Zoom,” but now it seems as though our kids’ sole educational connection comes from that now very necessary tool. I can’t believe it was March 1st when the family came over to celebrate my mother-in- law’s birthday. A week later, March 8th, even more family came over for tea. Now,the mere act of having anybody walk through the door and standing within 6 feet of us is essentially illegal. A month ago, my biggest concern was a broken patella due to an unfortunate surfing accident. Who could’ve predicted that four weeks later, my concern would be risking the coronavirus just by getting an x-ray to see if it had healed? Never would I have imagined that school would be closed/cancelled/postponed and our three boys would soon undergo remote learning without being able to play or hang out with their friends. But at least the internet has made learning in the traditional sense somewhat possible. What would we have done if this pandemic had happened a few decades ago without the benefit of being part of the digital age? I can’t recall there was ever a time when everyone was freaked out enough to suddenly clear off the shelves of the market,buying and hoarding everything insight. Maybe the uncertainty and ever changing nature of it all is bringing out our most caveman/survival instincts? It was so eerie to venture into the market only to see empty shelves where the bread and toilet paper used to be. But for every aggressive shopper, there have been so many more kind and considerate individuals trying to help one another. One neighbor has set up a Facebook group (Westside LA Covid19 assist) so that immediate needs of those with underlying health conditions can be met. Many other neighbors are offering to procure food and supplies for others less fortunate.

And there are other bright spots to this scary time that really show how supportive and adaptable we can be. Families are spending more time together. Dogs are being walked more often. Traffic is lighter. The stress that usually comes from over-planning and over-scheduling has subsided, too.There is fear, yes. But also hope.

As a society, we are sharing this experience together and there is a certain comfort in that. Like other significant milestones in history,while the events themselves may have been tragic (9-11, the LA Riots, the Northridge Quake just to name a few) the solidarity that resulted in the aftermath brought solace during another wise frightening time. Today we are being asked to stay inside for the purpose of stopping the spread and protecting those in our community who are more susceptible to getting ill and possibly dying from this mysterious disease. We are being asked to forego dining out, attending concerts,ballgames, movie theaters, shopping at the mall, even entertaining at home.We have been asked to take our kids out of school and figure out a way to keep them occupied and safe at home while not letting our own careers and businesses fall apart. We have been asked to do all of this so that the real heroes, our doctors and nurses and medical personnel, have a fighting chance to keep the most vulnerable in our population alive. So, while the sacrifices are indeed plentiful, the rewards of our efforts are worth it.

A few weeks ago I had been excited to take my family to Japan for Spring Break. Now, instead of taking in the sights and sounds of this ancient city:marveling at the famous pagodas and blooming Cherry Blossom trees- we are sheltering at home in Cheviot Hills watching dirty dishes pile up in the sink and old movies on TV. But we are also feeling so grateful to be healthy, and lucky to be with my loved ones. And we are proud to live in a community that in good times and in bad, knows howto stick together. This is a particularly surreal, somewhat frightening and wholly unforgettable time in history.Please be well, stay healthy and stop buying all the toilet paper. Just remember: we are all in this together and will make it through.