I refuse to take anything for granted now. After a year of a whole lot of not much, I am grateful for so many things. That being said, there are a few routines that I'd prefer to keep up, even though I'm pretty comfortable with our much awaited precautionary in person visits.

Every morning for just about my entire adult life, I called my parents to check in, say hi and just make sure all was well. The conversation always began with my dad answering the phone and after hearing it was me, he'd say, "how are you, how's Ernie, how's your weather, I love you, here's your momma". I still hear that in my heart every day.

It was something that just came naturally to me. As a kid, it started with a daily call to my grandparents shortly before I'd walk to school. The conversations were relatively brief, but always ended with my grandmother's instructions about crossing the five streets from our apartment building in Brooklyn to the big brick elementary school. She repeated the mantra each time; "look both ways, right then left, then up and down", at which point she'd laugh. As a 5-year-old walking with a group to my kindergarten class, I took it a bit more literally than was necessary and I assume the other kids were confused when I followed her explicit directions. Perhaps she was concerned with low flying planes or a speedy centipede crossing my path. Another conversation I choose to recall daily and smile.


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