Until We Meet Again

by Maria Theresa Maggi on March 14, 2020

FFVK's Cherry Chocolate Mousse Pie for blog

For the last couple of weeks we have been planning to celebrate my daughter-in-law’s birthday out here on the coast. A few days ago I finished her a loom knit gift (no spoilers beyond that allowed) and shopped for the ingredients for the decadent dessert you see above. (Go to Cherry Chocolate Mousse Pie  at FFVK for the recipe.)  The morning of the day they were supposed to come out, the governor of Oregon ordered all schools in the state closed, which meant my daughter-in-law would not be teaching for a while. Though my son mostly relies on free lance jobs he can do at home, he had needed to ride the bus just a couple of days before. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on the treat above, the phone rang. Mike wanted us all to talk and to decide together what would be the safest course of action.

There were already reported cases in the county of Multnomah, where they live in Portland. Out here in Lincoln County I had just gotten a letter from my state representative saying that as of the writing of his email, there were no reported cases in our district. Nevertheless, he was cancelling his town hall meetings, and other events were being cancelled across the county, even a St. Patrick’s Day pizza party at our clubhouse.) Kelly had a scratchy throat that was likely her allergies acting up. But they were both concerned about me getting sick.

Since they are rarely serious for long (we all cope with generous amounts of silliness) I decided I had better heed their unusually serious concern about wanting me to be safe. I asked for a few minutes to myself before calling them back to decide. It didn’t take long for me to heed which way the intuitive wind was blowing, disappointing as it was. With regret, and promises to come in a couple of weeks after they’ve waited at home  to make sure they aren’t sick, we decided to postpone the in-person birthday celebration for now.

Mike wanted to be sure we all agreed, and he also made the excellent point that it was a good thing to do now, while so many other people and entities were taking it seriously and closing down large gathering and movements, because then we would be a meaningful part of flattening the curve.

Yesterday as all this took hold at large and in my own life, I was struck by the strange sensation that the world had slowed down to my usual speed and care when it comes to moving through the world in order to maintain the best health I can. By late evening, though I was still resolved it was the best decision for all of us, I was sad: it was usually the time they roll in. Cotton jumps off the couch and barks excitedly, I start telling him to be quiet and laughing the whole time, Kelly is usually letting their dog Daisy into our yard, and Mike comes in through the slider grinning, holding the dog bed ready to put it down in “place” for Daisy.

One of my favorite things about these visits is how late at night, after we’ve hugged each other good night, I fall asleep to the giggles and conversation and movements of my loved ones brushing their teeth and getting ready for bed upstairs. I hear Mike move the cedar chest across the stair landing so Daisy can’t decide to come and “visit” us in the middle of the night. For a night or two, we are all under the same roof, happy to be together. And since I’m not a person who does go to large gatherings or events except once in a great while, these small family gatherings are social food for my soul.

But this night was quiet in that social way. Only the sound of driving rain on the roof and the soundtrack of a show I was half watching on my computer while I loom knitted. I texted them goodnight and said I was sad. Mike said he loved me and that it was smart decision even though it’s sad, and that we’d see each other soon, just a little while longer apart. I thought of the time 3 decades ago he was sick with a high fever and some strain of viral pneumonia the doctor was unsure of. He was quarantined in his hospital room. The nurses came in and out with masks on and wanted me to wear one too. I said no, because I wanted my son to be able to be reassured by my face as his fever came and went.  He learned the words “hurt” and “happy” as it did, and I spent 3 nights on a cot in the room. My mother’s emotional instinct wanted them here, where it hadn’t been reported just yet, because maybe they would be safer from transmission. Of course I know that’s all a guessing game, and I deferred to my son’s concern above all that I not get  the virus.

The next morning it was Mike who texted feeling sad. “It’s snowing here,” he wrote. “We miss you. Feel sad about not coming today. It snowed.” So we got on the phone again after I sang “happy birthday” on Kelly’s voicemail (a family tradition) while she chatted with her own Mom. Then the 3 of us talked about it more and did our best to cheer each other up. After we talked they sent videos of each of them out in their garden in the snow as it fell, Mike singing a line or two from the Muppet Christmas Carol ( a favorite of ours from his childhood) that made me laugh out loud.

I snapped Kelly a picture of the pie yesterday and sent it to her as a place holder for the real thing,  and then I put it carefully at the back of the freezer, wrapped and covered with a plate, where the cold will make it taste even sweeter when it thaws. It’s waiting there for us to celebrate her birthday a second time, in person, when we meet again. It will be every bit as sweet as the dessert, perhaps even more so, when they come through that door, all smiles and open arms.

Maria (moonwatcher)


Leave a Comment

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Johnnye Denman March 14, 2020 at 5:42 pm

What a lovely, poignant post, Maria. I think the three of you made a wise decision, even though it was disappointing. Mike was right–everyone who practices social distancing is doing his/her part toward containing this dangerous virus and saving lives. After all this is over, I have a feeling each of us will cherish those special gatherings of family and friends more than ever. Stay safe and well.


2 Maria Theresa Maggi March 14, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Thanks so much, JR! You stay safe and well too.


3 Maria Theresa Maggi March 16, 2020 at 10:39 pm

Thank you so much, JR–I have that feeling too! And may you and yours and yours stay safe and well, too.


4 Silvia March 14, 2020 at 11:56 pm

Again a beautiful and thoughtful post!


5 Maria Theresa Maggi March 15, 2020 at 9:51 am

Thanks, Silvia! xo


6 Nasreen Kabir March 15, 2020 at 8:37 am

AS always such a lovely post. Good wishes to all of you. Stay safe & well.


7 Maria Theresa Maggi March 15, 2020 at 9:50 am

Thank you, Nasreen! You sand yours stay safe and well, too.


8 Jacqui Pappas March 15, 2020 at 1:03 pm

What a beautiful post!


9 Lee March 15, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Hi Maria,

So sorry your family didn’t get to visit, but that (amazing looking) pie will taste even sweeter when you finally get to eat it. 🙂 Hope all is well with you!


10 Maria Theresa Maggi March 16, 2020 at 10:42 pm

Thanks Lee! (And thanks for the compliment about the pie, too–I was happy with the way it came out!) All is well here, one day at a time, and sending good thoughts out to you for the same! xo


11 Michelle March 15, 2020 at 5:14 pm

I know how your feeling. We were going to celebrate my son’s 18th birthday today and we made the call yesterday morning to postpone everything. I have been sad all weekend about it but I know it’s for the best. All the vendors I was using for food, cake etc were at least understanding. Looking forward to planning it again very soon at a time when everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.


12 Maria Theresa Maggi March 15, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Thanks for your comment, Michelle. I’m so sorry you had to cancel your son’s birthday celebration for now. It’s not always easy to do the right thing, and it’s okay to feel sad about it. Better times will return. Let’s both look forward to the day we can celebrate!


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