I had been good about mask wearing, even made masks for others with donated materials and left them in sealed bags on doorsteps. 

I had been good about social distancing, not leaving the house unless necessary; my only respite being the back yard and a walk to the mailbox. And yes, I wiped down the mail, my keys and the counter they sat on with Clorox. 

I cooked all of our meals at home and someone else did our shopping, even for those dreaded items like my “box-o-wine” and my husband’s cigarettes.

I had been good – at first – using the counter top in the kitchen for standing pushups and leg lifts and lunges.  I have gardened – planted and pulled until my back vetoed the bending.  I filled bird feeders every few days because someone had “tweeted” the new lunch location.

I couldn’t go to church, but I could listen to and watch pre-recorded messages on Facebook and YouTube.  I went to Sunday school via Zoom.

I had been good – until I couldn’t be good anymore.  When restaurants opened, we went, even though our fridge and freezer were full.

But there was one “rule” I had yet to break.  I tried to be good, but when my parents came in from out of state, my brain went wacko.  What if I didn’t hug them and was never able to again?  At 92 and 80, and living 12 hours away, that was a real possibility.  So, I broke the rules.  I planned a gathering – more than ten people.  We sat together, ate together and most importantly, we hugged.

We hugged longer than usual. 

We hugged more often than usual. 

We hugged and I cried, and cried, and cried. And they were good tears.

I had been good, but breaking the “rule” felt better than being good. Those hugs were powerful.  They were healing.  It was like holding a newborn or watching a sunrise.  Those hugs spoke without words, because they didn’t need any.