Tags Posts tagged with "Opinion"


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On this page, we do the work of democracy.

The first editorial ever published in our newspaper [“The spirit of ’76,” April 8, 1976] declared our opinion pages as “a forum where everybody has an opportunity to be heard.” Through the many changes over the last 47 years, we affirm this creed unconditionally, subject to concerns of libel and good taste.

For nearly half a century, our staff, columnists and letter writers have broadcast ideas to the North Shore public each week. This page is our weekly community dialogue keeping vital communication channels alive.

Debate ennobles citizens. Through spirited exchanges, we empower our peers to interpret and digest local current events, enabling rational, informed decisions at the ballot box.

But how our times have changed.

With innovation, many of our discussions have moved from the printed page to the digital screen. Citizens today take their disagreements to social media, where opinions are not subjected to rigorous editorial standards and vetting procedures.

Social media often discourages thoughtful dissent. Unfiltered, shielded by screens, we inject venom and misinformation into our public forum. The natural consequence of this toxic social media culture is the decay of civility and decorum.

We live in a hypercharged, decidedly polarized political context. We expect media outlets and tech companies to squelch meaningful exchanges. We seek only information affirming our existing — often incomplete — worldviews.

Instead of debating, we dehumanize and delegitimize our political opponents. Through our collective softness and fear of dissent, we paint a warped picture of reality.

While our staff may object to some of the sentiments advanced on this page, we remind our readers that we are moderators, not censors. We hold up the words attributed to Voltaire, the great French philosophical champion of free speech, who once wrote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

We disagree with outlets and tech companies that censor divergent speech, stymie political discourse or needlessly encroach upon our deliberative process. However, we disallow hatred or what appears as personal attacks. 

As journalists, we cannot bend our editorial code to meet the censorial standards of our age.

For this republic to endure, we must return to honest disagreement. So in this spirit, let us continue this noble work, allowing the conversations to flourish.

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For more than 35 years, March has been set aside to honor American women who have made their mark on history.

Over this time, Women’s History Month has evolved into a period to reflect on women’s roles in the country and the steps made to further equality, an effort that is still unfinished. While there’s no denying that women have come a long way over the decades, more work must be done.

Unfortunately, in this 21st century, countless women don’t earn the same as their male counterparts, who do the same exact job as they do. Sometimes, women even find themselves in work situations where they make less than men who don’t have as much experience or education as they do.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1979 women who were full-time, salary workers had earnings that were 62% of men. In 2020, the gap closed somewhat but not completely, with women on average making 82% of what men make in similar jobs. Females of color make even less.

Women are underpaid in many fields, including the media. A 2021 study researching the newsrooms of 14 Gannett-owned newspapers found women earned up to $27,000 less annually than men, according to the labor union NewsGuild. That equates to 63% of the median salary of males in the same roles.

The days of women working only to earn some spending money are long gone. Today, society doesn’t limit women to feeling as if they can only choose to be a secretary, teacher or nurse. Girls can grow up to be whatever they aim to be and, just like men, females have college loans that must be paid for and carry the burden of household expenses. In an era where two incomes are often needed to own a home, and there are single mothers and women looking to build a future of their own, paying women only 82% of what men make is inexcusable.

Females deserve the same respect as males in every aspect, yet they are still fighting on every level. Another distressing example of what females experience comes from a survey conducted by the Seattle University Department of Communication and Media which reported 79% of 115 women journalists surveyed feared online abuse. Such harassment could put a female reporter in a position where she may fear covering certain kinds of stories. Preying on women journalists to prevent them from properly doing their job is unconscionable.

Women have the right to choose whatever career path they desire. When they land their dream job, they deserve to be paid the same as their male counterparts and to be treated with respect.

Women’s History Month reminds us that the fight for equality is universal. Men require strong women, and vice versa. Today’s females stand on the shoulders of the women and men who have fought for their equality. 

Let us continue their work. Let us envision a world that will be better for the girls who follow in our footsteps.

Daylight Saving Time may be going away for good

On Tuesday March 15, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent. That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. The House of Representatives still has to meet and agree to pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign. Also, it wouldn’t go into effect until 2023.

Be that as it may, we here at TBR News Media thought it would be interesting to see how people felt about the news, so we headed out to the streets of Port Jefferson on a sunny Friday afternoon to see what local passersby thought of the prospect of never having to move their clocks forward and back each year.

Here’s what they had to say:

Samantha Falese, West Islip 

“I love the sunshine. I’m a morning person, so when I get up, it might be a little bit darker, but I like the idea of coming home knowing it’s light out because I work about an hour away.”




Rachel Guglielmo, Port Jefferson 

“I’m looking forward to it staying like this. I like getting out of work and being in the sunlight instead of leaving work and it being all dark out and making me feel like my day is all over. I’m more motivated when it’s light out.”




Connie Poulos, Selden 

“I’m happy about it. If it’s like, so that it doesn’t get dark at 4 o’clock, that would be nice. I’m looking forward to more sunlight.”





Gwen Coady with grandson Jack, Saint James 

“My husband does construction. If he works later in the summer, it stinks. If it’s daylight, he keeps on working. The other way, he keeps more of a schedule. But I do like the daylight savings because I love to be outside.”




Allison Marin, Port Jefferson 

“I think I like the changing back and forth because it kind of gives you something to look forward to that day — when you know you’re getting the hour back. I don’t love losing it necessarily, but when you get the hour back, you kind of feel like you won. You know? Like you want to do something big with your hour. You have to make it worth something. I think it’s kind of fun.”



Stephen Malusa, Selden 

“I like it. Finally get rid of that nonsense. Changing back and forth is just an annoyance.”


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By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

With 10 weeks left until the end of 2021, it seems fitting to consider what we might put into a time capsule that future generations might open to understand the strange world that was so incredibly different from the one just two years ago.

Here are a few items I’d throw into a box I’d bury or shoot into space.

— Masks. Even with so many events where people aren’t wearing masks, including huge gatherings of fans at sporting events, masks are still a part of our lives in 2021.

— A Netflix app. I’m not a streaming TV person. Most of my regular TV watching involves sports or movies (many of which I’ve seen a few times before). Still, I got caught up in the “Stranger Things” phenomenon and am now impressed with the storylines from “Madam Secretary,” which include prescient references to our withdrawal from Afghanistan and to the potential (and now real) pandemic.

— Pet paraphernalia. The number of homes with pets has climbed dramatically, as people who seemed unwilling or uninterested in having dogs are out with their collection of poop bags, leashes and pieces of dog food to entice the wayward wanderer in the right direction.

— A zoom app. Even with people returning to work, many of us are still interacting with large groups of people on a divided screen. Future generations may find all this normal and the start of eSocializing and virtual working. Many of us today are still trying to figure out where to look and avoid the temptation to scrutinize our own image.

— Cargo ships. The year started off in March with the blocking of the Suez Canal. For six days, the Ever Given kept one of the world’s most important canals from functioning, blocking container ships from going from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. As the year has progressed, concerns about shortages and supply chains have triggered fears about empty shelves.

— A small model of the Enterprise. The ship from the show “Star Trek” seems apt in a 2021 time capsule in part because William Shatner, who played the fictional Captain James T. Kirk (or admiral, if you’re also a fan of the movies), traveled briefly into space. In many ways, the science fiction of the past — a telephone that allowed you to look at someone else — is the fact of the present, with FaceTime and the aforementioned zoom.

— Competing signs. Protesting seems to have returned in full force this year. As the year comes to a close, people who do and don’t believe in vaccinations often stand on opposite sides of a road, shouting at cars, each other and the wind to get their messages across.

— A syringe. We started the year with people over 65 and in vulnerable groups getting their first doses of a vaccine that has slowed the progression of COVID-19, and we’re ending it with the distribution of booster shots for this population and, eventually, for others who received a vaccine eight months earlier.

— Take-out menus. I would throw several take-out menus, along with instructions about leaving food at a front door, into the time capsule. While numerous restaurants are operating close to their in-dining capacity, some of us are still eating the same food at home.

— An Amazon box. Barely a day goes by when I don’t see an Amazon delivery truck in the neighborhood, leaving the familiar smiling boxes at my neighbors’ front doors.

— Broken glass. I would include some carefully protected broken glass to reflect some of the divisions in the country and to remember the moment protesters stormed the capital, overwhelming the police and sending politicians scrambling for cover.

— Houses of gold. I would throw in a golden house, to show how the value of homes, particularly those outside of a city, increased amid an urban exodus.

— A Broadway playbill. My wife and I saw a musical for the first time in over two years. We were thrilled to attend “Wicked.” The combination of songs, staging, acting, and lighting transported us back to the land of Oz. Judging from the thunderous applause at the end from a fully masked audience, we were not the only ones grateful to enjoy the incredible talents of performers who must have struggled amid the shutdown.

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By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

There I was, tapping on my computer keyboard, when what sounded like a pneumatic drill started tapping right outside my window. I jumped up, ran down the hall, out the front door and around the house to be greeted by the sight of an unperturbed woodpecker.

Busily bobbing his beak into my shingles, he ignored me for a few seconds, despite my frantic hand waving and yelling, then cocked his head to see what the fuss was about. We looked at each other but he didn’t leave. I picked up a pine cone that had fallen on my driveway and threw it in his direction, along with a couple of words I wouldn’t repeat in polite company. Slowly, letting me know it was his idea, he flew away.

He left behind three black holes on the side of the house, each the size of a quarter. I went back inside to my computer, and then there he was again, rat-tat-tatting on the shingles. The words, “How much wood could a woodpecker peck if a woodpecker would peck wood?” passed through my mind as I again ran out the door and yelled. This time he moved away more quickly. I made a little pile of pine cones along the side of my driveway and returned to my computer. Not five minutes later, the scene repeated itself. I replenished my arsenal, knowing he would be back, and he was.

Good heavens, what was I to do, stand guard all day? What if I hadn’t been home? From the number and size of the holes, he had clearly been there before.

A truce seemed at hand. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed my neighbor. Yes, he was aware that there was an energetic woodpecker among us. In fact, hadn’t I heard? The neighbor on the other side of my house was having his wood shingles removed and replaced with vinyl that looked like wood but obviously didn’t taste the same. Maybe the culprit had just moved over to my shingles.

Next, I called my trusty neighborhood hardware store. Yes, they had heard of such a problem before and they did have one possible remedy, a roll of reflective tape for $7 that I should cut into 3-foot strips and hang from my house. 

We rushed down to get the tape and also bought a roll of twine.

Back home we did as instructed, knotted the red and silver streamers to the twine at five-foot intervals as if on a clothesline, then hung the entire line high up across the side of the house. We repeated the process for the front of the house where he had also started pecking. I am lucky to have saintly friends who executed these maneuvers on ladders for me. When it was done, we stood back and looked at the handwork. The house looked decorated for Halloween.

As you might expect of me, I researched “woodpeckers” on my computer and found four reasons that woodpeckers would carry on this way. The first was to make a “satisfyingly loud noise and proclaim that this was his territory and attract a mate.” Bully for him.

The other three explanations were less romantic but more practical: to find food in the shingles, especially larvae of carpenter bees, leafcutter bees and grass bagworms; to store food; for nesting.

I further found some good news, or at least some consolation. It seems that ancient cultures associated woodpeckers with luck, prosperity and spiritual healing. To other cultures they represented hard work, perseverance, strength and determination.  Woodpeckers are, apparently, among the most intelligent and smartest birds in the world.

More good news in the form of fortune cookie messages: When they appear, it is time to unleash one’s potential and change any situation to one’s best advantage. From woodpeckers one can imbibe the skills of being resourceful and determined. They encourage the power to unshackle ingenuity and creativity in those around them.

Well, now you know. Whatever success ensues, I will owe it to my woodpecker.

P.S. After one more short visit, he has not come back.

Help wanted sign in window

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Here is a possible answer to a couple of current questions. How to deal with the thousands of Afghans we have brought to our country ahead of the Taliban takeover and also those refugees from Central and South America who have massed at our border? That is one question. Another is how to respond to the ever-widening gap between the rising need for home health care workers and hospital aides, and the aging of the current United States population who will need such services?  And there are other such industries that urgently need workers, where there are not enough Americans to fill them.

Some of the immigrants may be well-educated or have needed skills. Those can probably be settled readily into American locations after they have been vetted and vaccinated. For those without obvious skills, the government will need to offer training, including English classes. The newcomers could be given a choice of what work they would want to do. Some may be or would like to be farmers, and we certainly need more workers in agriculture. Some may already be carpenters or landscapers or roofers or mechanics. If they can drive, we might be able to prepare them to drive trucks or buses, jobs that are going begging today. Perhaps they could help moving companies, which are understaffed and leaving customers stranded in their new homes waiting for their furniture to arrive. Some could help veterinarians, who are hugely overworked now by the many new pet owners who wanted companionship during the pandemic and acquired dogs, cats and other domestic creatures. 

Child care is a field that needs more workers. Mental health practitioners, overwhelmed by those experiencing anxiety, depression and stress could certainly use non-managerial help. So could both be teaching and non-teaching educational services, and sawmills turning out lumber for new construction and renovation, and textile mills trying to meet the sudden demand for back-to-school and back-to-work clothing places to welcome help. We have a desperate shortage of nurses in our country, both PNs and RNs. Hospitals, now newly reduced in their staffing because of the vaccine mandates, probably need help with basic services.

All of these positions, of course, would need varying degrees of training, and that in turn would offer new teaching jobs to the currently unemployed. Such programs would be no small task to organize, but it was doable during the Great Depression almost a century ago, and we can surely again put people to work where they are needed. Some of the jobs would be easier to prepare for than others. All could improve our economy, especially in areas with stagnant growth, and perhaps meet urgent needs.

I wonder if the federal government is thinking strategically when they place thousands of refugees in select communities. Currently, some 37,000 Afghans are at military installations in 10 states while other evacuees remain at overseas bases waiting to be processed, according to Nayla Rush, writing for the Center for Immigration Studies on Sept. 23. In total, the Biden administration has reported that over 100,000 Afghans were evacuated.

The top ten states receiving the newcomers, according to the Center, are California (5255), Texas (4481), Oklahoma (1800), Washington (1679), Arizona (1610), Maryland (1348), Michigan (1280), Missouri (1200), North Carolina (1169) and Virginia (1166). To coordinate this mammoth resettlement, President Joe Biden (D) appointed former Delaware Governor Jack Markell. He is also the former chairman of the National Governors Association and has held top positions in the private sector. 

“Nine religious or community-based organizations have contracts with the Department of State to resettle refugees inside the United States,” according to the Center, and they have final say on the distribution. These agencies, in turn, maintain nationwide networks of local affiliates to provide the necessary services. State and local officials are not involved and have no control over the program. Refugees are not resettled in states that do not have any local affiliates, which explains why some areas are skipped. 

Our country has a need of workers. Potential workers are entering the United States in significant numbers. Together that creates opportunity. We need some thoughtful and skilled management here.

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I honestly don’t remember a whole lot from elementary school, but I still remember September 11, 2001. 

I remember it was a beautiful, warm day. There was not one cloud in the sky and we were all so excited that we would be able to play outside for recess and gym class. 

At just 8 years old, I was in the fourth grade at East Street Elementary School in Hicksville — just a little over an hour away from one of my favorite places, Manhattan. 

My dad was a truck driver back then, and he was always in the city making deliveries. He’d take me and my brother out there every other weekend and show us his favorite spots. One of them was the World Trade Center. 

“Isn’t it amazing?” I remember him saying, “They look like Legos from far away.”

Back at school that Tuesday morning, I remember simply going about our day. Things eventually got weird, though. My principal came to speak to my teacher out at around 10 a.m. outside of the classroom, and I remember her face when she came back inside. She was white as a ghost. 

Throughout the day, my classmates started to get pulled out one by one. I remember being mad that I couldn’t go home, like everyone else. I remember being jealous but, looking back, they were being taken out because their fathers and uncles were first responders and their families were scared.

When our parents picked us up later in the afternoon, I remember everyone just feeling so sad. The sky wasn’t that pretty blue anymore — it felt like a dark cloud washed over us, which on reflection might have been smoke heading east. Everyone’s energy was low. The news was the only thing we watched for hours.

My dad made it home later that night and he was shell shocked. From his truck route in Queens, he said he saw the smoke. He was on the parkway, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, fleeing with the rest of the people trying to evacuate Manhattan. 

My family was lucky — we didn’t lose anyone that day, and being so young I don’t know if I was able to recognize what happened until much later in life. 

I knew it was a sad day. I knew that something bad happened. I knew that I had to wear red, white and blue on Sept. 12 and that a lot of people were missing and dead. 

But when I became a journalist, I started to talk to more and more people who were impacted on the anniversaries of the attacks. Every year since the age of 8, it began to become more real to me. 

After college, I met my best friend, Nicole, who’s aunt worked in the first tower. She died on impact when the plane crashed through her office. 

Hearing these stories opened my eyes more. I grew up with 9/11 and felt it firsthand. But growing up, I started to learn more about the actual people whose lives were lost that day. I heard their stories and they eventually became real persons to me — not just numbers in this crazy story. 

It’s amazing to think that 20 years have passed since the events which took place that horrible day. It’s amazing to see what has happened since then —wars, recessions, other bombings and a pandemic. And it’s amazing to believe that families, like my friend Nicole’s, have been without their loved ones for two decades.

No matter what age you were when the events happened — or even if you hadn’t been born yet — I think the anniversary of 9/11 should remind all of us to hug our families a little harder. Tell them you love them, and never forget the thousands of people who were impacted that day. 

Julianne Mosher is the editor of the Port Times Record, Village Beacon Record and Times of Middle Country. 

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By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Welcome to the casino. Just by being alive today, you’ve all punched your ticket to the worldwide slot machine.

Now, the machines operate the way people expect, most of the time. They follow their programming, they make the loud noises as the three wheels inside of them spin and then show images on those three wheels.

The machine doesn’t cost anything to play. You don’t have to put in quarters or tokens or anything else. You just sit down and a machine starts spinning.

In fact, when you sit in one of our relatively unclean chairs, because we’re much more about playing the game than we are about cleanliness or safety, the process begins.

The chairs are close together, so you and your neighbor can compare notes on how you’re doing in this game, can share stories about your lives and can enjoy time out, away from the limitations of quarantine and all the other frustrations that you’ve had to endure for so long.

We do everything we can to discourage masks. We want you to be able to share the freedom that comes from seeing each other’s faces clearly.

And, if you should happen to need to use the bathroom, we don’t have any annoying signs about washing your hands. In fact, we don’t even recommend soap. What is the value of soap, after all? It’s probably some corporate scheme to boost profits somewhere.

We mean, come on, right? The cavemen didn’t have soap and they lived long enough to become fossils. That should be good enough for you, too, right? Before they died, they drew cool things on the wall, sharing stories that survived years after they did.

Now, we want to share a few details about our cool slot machines. You want to know a secret? We didn’t build these machines. We know, it’s hard to believe, but they just appeared one day, as if a stork or another kind of flying creature brought them. Well, not all of them. That’s the incredible thing. A few of them appeared and, after we started playing them, they copied themselves. The more we played them, the more they produced new copies.

Now, you might have heard that these machines can be bad for you. But, hey, so many other things are bad for you, too, and you still do them, right? You have a little too much to eat or drink now and then, and you maybe put a recycling bottle in the wrong trash can, but who pays attention to those things?

Anyway, so, these original machines built themselves the same way, most of the time. Each time a new machine appeared, they worked the same way, with images flying across the screen.

Every so often, when the machines made enough copies of themselves, they changed slightly. We’re not exactly sure why or how that happened, but it’s perfectly normal, we think.

The newest versions of these machines spin at a faster rate and also copy themselves more rapidly. One of them, which is now the most common type, has a big D on its side. That’s the dominant machine.

Actually, at this point, we’d kind of prefer people stop playing the game. You see, each time you play the game, not only does that D version copy itself, but our people are telling us that we run the risk of creating other types of the machine that might have worse features.

But, wait, how can you stop playing? What can keep you out of a casino that’s everywhere? Well, there’s a special thing you can get at any local drug store that someone puts in your arm. After you get it, you become almost invisible to the machine. That may be the best way to get away from these monsters.

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By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

A few weeks ago, a Chicago White Sox player named Yermin Mercedes did what he was paid to do, hitting a ball far. His manager Tony La Russa was furious because his player broke an unwritten rule, swinging at a 3-0 pitch from an infielder for the Minnesota Twins when his team was already winning by 11 runs.

The next day, La Russa seemed fine with a Minnesota pitcher throwing a pitch behind the knees of Mercedes as punishment for a violation of that unwritten rule.

So, what are other possible random unwritten rules regarding life sportsmanship and what should the potential punishments be for violating those rules?

For starters, if you’ve lost a lot of weight, you don’t need to ask other people who clearly haven’t lost any weight, or perhaps have put on pandemic pounds, how they’re doing on their diet or if they’ve lost weight. They haven’t lost any weight. We know it, they know and you know it. You don’t need to contrast your success with their failure. The punishment for that kind of infraction should be that you have to eat an entire box of donuts or cookies in under a minute.

If you rescued a dog from the vet or the pound or from a box beneath a bridge in the middle of an urban war zone, you don’t need to ask where I got my overpriced and poorly trained dog. We get it: you did something great rescuing a dog, while those of us with designer dogs are struggling to get them to be quiet while we repeat the few answers we get right to the questions on “Jeopardy!” The punishment for such self-righteous dog ownership should be that you have to pick up the designer dog’s poop for a day. If you’ve been over virtuous, you also might have to compliment him on the excellent quality of his droppings and send other people a TikTok of your poop flattery.

If your kid just won the chess championship, you don’t need to wear a different T-shirt each day of the week that captures the moment of her triumph. The punishment for over bragging is that you have to wear a tee shirt that says, “Your kid is just as amazing as mine and certainly has better parents.”

If you’re in first class on a plane and you board first to sit in your larger, more comfortable seat, you don’t have to look away every time someone might make eye contact or, worse, through your fellow passengers. You aren’t obligated to look at everyone, but you can make periodic eye contact or provide a nod of recognition to the plebeians from group six. The punishment for such above-it-all behavior should be that you have to echo everything the flight attendant says as others board the plane, offering a chipper “good morning” or “welcome aboard.”

Finally, if you’ve taken a spectacular vacation, you don’t need to share every detail of your trip, from the type of alcohol you drank to the sweet smell of the ocean breeze to the sight of a baby bird hatching just outside your window. If you overdo the unsolicited details, you’ll have to listen to every mundane detail of the person’s life who was home doing his or her job while you were relaxing. Afterwards, you’ll have to take a test on his story. If you fail, you have to listen to more details, until you can pass.

Maybe Mr. La Russa has a point: unwritten rules could be a way to enforce life sportsmanship outside the lines.

METRO photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

After setting the American record for the longest consecutive streak of 340 days away from Earth aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly returned and flopped into a pool.

While we all haven’t been away from Earth for any length of time, we have been living in a modified version of the normal we knew.

Like Kelly, we have spoken with our close friends and family through electronic devices that beam them onto a screen in front of us.

We have watched some of their drained faces, as they isolated themselves for a month or more, battling through the cough, fever and discomfort of COVID-19.

We have also seen our relatives at much greater than arm’s length as we celebrated landmark birthdays, the birth of new family members, and socially-distanced graduations and limited-attendance weddings.

In two weeks, I am anticipating the familiar feeling of diving into a familial swimming pool. That’s when I will see family members I haven’t seen in over a year.

We worked around our busy schedules not only to get vaccinated before we saw each other in real life, but also to do so long enough in advance of that meeting that our immune systems would have time to arm themselves against viral spike proteins.

This is the longest period my wife and I have ever been separated from our parents. We know how fortunate we are that our parents didn’t get sick.

We took nothing for granted, staying away from our parents and extended family. We might as well have been on the International Space Station, which was probably among the safest places people have ever lived, given the limited social contact in a controlled environment 254 miles from the nearest pool, family member or pizza restaurant.

We feel so much closer to a more familiar life than we have in over a year, as we anticipate seeing our parents and family members who can attend our son’s graduation. The planned visit has become a dominant and daily topic of conversation in our house. We are wondering what food and drink to serve, how to move everyone from nearby hotels to socially-distanced seating at graduation and what games to prepare in our backyard for our grown children to play with their cousins.

These questions and decisions might have seemed like a responsibility prior to the pandemic, as hosting anyone requires attention to detail and consideration for our guests. That responsibility has transformed into the kind of privilege we might have taken for granted in other years, before the pandemic disrupted family gatherings and turned the calendar into a reminder of delayed gratification of family gatherings.

While we will likely engage in the Texas two-step, trying to gauge how close we can get physically to each other, it’s easy to imagine that hugs, kisses and appreciative smiles will bubble up from the excitement of a backyard that has hosted more routine gatherings of birds, squirrels and chipmunks than of the people who stare at flickering screens in our home.

As we prepare to dive into our own family pools of support, affection and love, we are incredibly grateful to everyone who made such a return to normal possible, from those who explored the basic science that led to the vaccine, to those who developed and tested the vaccine, to those who treated family and friends, to those who stocked the shelves with the food and drinks we needed to take us from the uncertainty of the pandemic to the anticipation of a celebration. Absence made our hearts grow fonder for family and increased our appreciation for everyone who allowed us to reunite with the most important pieces of ourselves. In just a few weeks, we look forward to diving into a more familiar world.