By CL Bledsoe
Last Friday, my daughter was understandably disappointed that we were not going to McDonald’s like we usually do. I explained that we don’t want her mom or us to get sick, that we’re self-isolating. She’s been having a really hard time with being away from her friends. Facebook Messenger Kids has helped a bit, but only a bit. When her best friend’s family withdrew their daughter from non-immediate-family contact, it hit her hard.
“I need to go to the seaside,” she said, after the McDonald’s denial. “I have scarlet fever. Or polio. I can’t move my legs. My body is freezing.”
I considered this. “Those diseases aren’t really around anymore,” I said. “You’re not sick.”
“Dad,” she said. “Why can’t you just let me be happy?”
This is a common complaint whenever I try to stop my daughter from being miserable or suffering in some Victorian-inspired manner.
“When COVID-19 passes,” I said, “We can think about going to places like McDonald’s.” It seems like I’ve seen an ad for Popeye’s about every 15 minutes since we started self-isolating. I haven’t even been to a Popeye’s in months, but now I can’t stop thinking about it.
“We can wear a mask,” she said. I wasn’t even going to think about going into the whole debacle of unavailability of masks/save the good ones for medical personnel.
She assured me that I’m not a doctor.
Things she has recently told me I’m not, in no particular order of exasperation:
- a dog
- a doctor
- a pangolin
- the president or some law-maker-guy
- the goddess or god of the world
- anything but her father, her aunt’s brother, and whatever I do for work
“Let’s make a bucket list of things we want to do when this is over,” I said, in hopes of distracting her, and myself.
“That’s boring,” she said. “Let’s make a list of things we want to do in the future. But we’re not calling it that thing you said.”
“Okay,” I said, because there are only so many hours in the day.” I passed her a pen and some paper.
“Pluots,” she said. “I want to eat stone fruit.”
“Nice,” I said, though we had plums in the fridge.
“Okay,” I said.
“And I’ll go to the seaside to cure my scarlet fever.”
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Oh, McDonald’s,” she said.
She also would like to be referred to as Shadow, the darkness in the night, until further notice.
For lunch, she had a grilled cheese on sourdough (people took all the pre-packaged stuff but left the fresh, last time I went to the store). I had a salad. So, yeah, let’s get past this thing so I can go back to McDonald’s.