I'm Erin Jo. I'm thinking, writing, dreaming, mothering, loving, living, praising, BLESSED to be Fiona to my Shrek and Mommy to my four amazing kiddos.



Shrek is "like an onion with many layers" but has a heart of gold. He's my husband and my friend, and we just get better all the time.



Lily is my first baby and only girl. She's smart, funny, tall and kind. Keeping up with this girl is a challenge and a joy. She's terrific!



Max is one part ogre, two parts lover and all boy! Our little man has a temper but gives the best hugs of anyone I know!



Colby is as ornery as he looks. He flirts shamelessly, even with strangers. He's all mouth and curls and the loudest by far.



Luke is the baby of the family, but holds his own. He's happy and adorable. And he's a terrible sleeper. =)

The Blessing

Colby, on a recent Zoom call with his classmates

So yesterday I woke up early, on my own, at about 6 a.m. This was not normal. I laid in my bed for a bit before getting up for my coffee and the sunrise. The extra time allowed me to finish the prayers I had fallen asleep on. It was a blessing.

After working a half day, ensuring that homework was indeed done, soothing Luke through a complete and total gaming addiction meltdown (that’s another post) and then chiming in to a quick staff Zoom call, I took our son Colby a couple of hours away to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. He had an audiology appointment where one of his two cochlear implants was upgraded with a new processor. Apparently, because of the physical nature of actually activating the new implant, our appointment was considered essential.

We’ve had this appointment set for months. In the week leading up to it, I heard from his new audiologist that she had actually been furloughed, and said she wasn’t sure if she would be the one to meet with us. But luckily, she was. She was awesome in every way.

But let’s back up a minute. Sometime a couple of weeks ago, I realized how soon this trip to Columbus would come. Once a pretty regular thing—the me, getting into a car, driving an hour or more, interacting with others, getting stuff done, the sweet prospect of Starbucks—this upcoming trip felt novel.

I got excited, thinking maybe I would just sneak in that Target trip because I had some items I can’t usually find at my discount grocery store that I wanted to buy. I debated the entire way up, but had time to kill, so decided to make the stop.

Colby and I donned our masks and went into a completely somber Target. Don’t get me wrong, there were people bebopping around there without masks shopping like nothing was up. But, for the most part, the employees all had masks, and there was absolutely no music playing. I didn’t do my normal end cap clearance shopping. I simply went in for the things I needed, many of which were not in stock. There was no joy.

Let me say that again. I was at Target, a place I rarely get to visit except for during these trips to Columbus, and there. was. no. joy. It actually felt wrong to be there.

At the hospital, we found a great parking spot. (I wonder why.) We entered to a checkpoint, where we were asked to swap our masks for their masks. The elevator stood open and waiting for us, and we traveled to the second floor. Check-in was pretty much like normal, but an audiology appointment where the audiologist, the patient, and the patient’s mom all wear masks the entire time? That was odd.

In fact, when the audiologist tried her Ling Six Sound Check for Colby and was looking around for her embroidery hoop with the black fabric stretched through the hoops so he would have to rely solely on his ears to repeat the sounds, I had to remind her that he could not see her mouth. She ended up holding a piece of paper up, saying it was for her own sake, because, to an audiologist, it just doesn’t seem right to administer “Ling sounds” without holding something in front of your face.

We upgraded the processor, and, thankfully, were spared the testing booth. Afterward, the audiologist and I ended up having a wonderful conversation that made the entire day feel more welcoming. After all, this audiologist is a mother, working some of the time from home, helping to school her children from home, wondering about her job security…. pretty much all the things I’m doing.

Per usual, Colby‘s big treat and constant for the day was getting Subway. While I was unsure about being at the hospital any longer than necessary, I reasoned it would be one less stop. So we headed down to the cafeteria, and I kid you not: The one worker at Subway, the three workers at Koco’s, Colby, and I were the only six people in the entire place. How strange is that?

Once we had our food in hand, I escorted Colby past the closed gift shops, the closed coffee shop, into to the elevator and then the parking garage. Our overall hospital experience looked vastly different than any other we have had over the past seven years.

We drove out of Columbus in rain, with a somewhat ominous feel. I was looking for my own treat on the trip: a Starbucks americano with heavy whipping cream and two shots of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup. Sadly, I missed the mark, as the Starbucks I found in Reynoldsburg had closed 45 minutes earlier (at 4 p.m.!!) due to shortened hours.

We were about six hours into the trip by then. I wanted to go home but decided I absolutely had to make my grocery stop on the trip as well, because leaving my house again in two days to get it in before the weekend just didn’t appeal to me.

So, a good appointment, an eerie trip. Eerie enough that, while only a couple of hours from our hometown, the trip gave me the perspective to see this pandemic on a grander scale.

Let me tell you something. I’ve always prided myself on being really great at weighing all sides of a situation, at seeing all sides of a story. I can be neutral to a fault. Empathy runs deep with this one.

I get that there are people, throughout the nation and the world, that are putting out negative energy in reaction to Covid-19 safety precautions. I know that the economy is tanking. This is not good!

But I had a visceral feeling yesterday, really just a releasing inside myself that told me I don’t have to understand it all. I don’t have to exhaust myself with the constant considering that maybe this isn’t right, that maybe we are overreacting, that maybe I have some sort of power in this that I’m not fully realizing.

I can’t choose that black cloud.

I truly believe that the officials who are putting plans in place to try to contain the spread are not being malicious. We are all human beings, doing the best we can in unfathomable, global circumstances. We will recover.

Instead of lamenting the things I am missing, the places I cannot go, I will be be present. I will be positive. I will choose hope.

It’s a blessing.

2 Responses

  1. The weirdness kind of wore off after the first two or three weeks of this. I haven’t been beyond our little town so have not been struck by the overwhelming strangeness of even Marietta. Your post was an apt description of what it is really like out there. It sounds like we are beginning to open up and I am happy that we are doing so cautiously. Wouldn’t it be a shame if all we have done could be completely undone quickly? Let’s just hang in there and pray that all will be well soon.

  2. Karen Rutter says:

    I’m in kind of the opposite situation. I live in Marietta and am working full time because my company is considered essential. The times I need to go to the store after work or on weekends, you would hardly know anything’s going on, except for the masks and the sanitized carts. People still flood the stores buying toys, clothes, whatever. Of course you still can’t usually find toilet paper or paper towels. But i can only imagine a hospital visit. Glad things went well for colby!

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