Dear Baby B,
I measure the length of the pandemic by the roundness of my belly.
During quarantine, I only ever know what tomorrow is — the next print date. As a reporter, today’s paper is irrelevant. It’s all about tomorrow.
But I have another indicator of how long it’s been since this all started — you.
How long it’s been. It seems like everyone is talking about how long it’s been.
How long we’ve been quarantined. How long we’ve been working from home or studying remotely. How long we’ve been wearing masks and making sacrifices — big or small — and distancing from the people we love.
How long has it been? It’s been precisely the exact amount of time I’ve been loving you.
You were the size of a poppy seed the week this all started. News of you collided with news of the coronavirus.
I had no idea what to expect on either subjects. I still don’t.
But, in the now historic sequence of events, you’ve been here since the first notch on the timeline.
You were there when your grandpa said the coronavirus made it to Ohio, officially, by three.
You were there when large gatherings were banned and schools closed.
You were there, late at night, when Election Day halted, and polls didn’t open in the morning.
You were there when everything, then everything else, shut down.
You were there when daily 2 p.m. briefings got dubbed “Wine with DeWine,” and social media lit up with BINGO and memes and T-shirts.
You were there when Ohioans took photos of daffodils in their yards and put up flags on their porches.
You were there when we mourned people lost.
You were there when we thanked our people, too — scientists and doctors and nurses and first responders and grocery clerks and teachers — all of our neighbors. Our heroes.
You were there when we all stayed home, when we flattened the curve.
And you were there when Dr. Amy Acton looked into the camera and said:
“Life seems like it’s shutting us down, but I feel like life is waking us up.”
For me, she was talking about you.
You were there then — albeit teeny tiny in utero — when it all started, when the virus became reality, when life as we knew it changed.
It’s all part of your story now.
Now, look how far you’ve come!
You’re a third trimester baby — as big as a pineapple (of which I’ve eaten many this pandemic pregnancy).
You’re finally fattening up; I’m rounder each day.
You’re wiggly and wonderful, with a fierce kick — or punch.
You’re already just pure fun.
And while we may still be in the middle of a sleepy pandemic, you’ve woken me up.
And while the world outside is still dark, you are light.
I believed Dr. Amy Acton then, and I still cling to her words now.
I, too, see a future that is brighter than I’ve ever known.
Anna Bolton, of Greene County, is a Xenia Daily Gazette staff reporter and columnist. She’s sharing letters to her yet-to-be-born baby for the next few weeks. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.