Days of yore and toilet paper

Instead of counting down the days to graduation, we’re counting the rolls

ParentingNH’s own Dad on Board columnist Bill Burke.

I’ve been keeping a secret for lo these 13 years I’ve been writing the Dad on Board column for ParentingNH, and it is this: I’m a time traveler.

In the magazine world, we work ahead by a month or two, so I’m writing this from your past. I’m currently in the early days of the stay-at-home edict, when the currency of the realm is toilet paper and I’d kill for a chance to whine about parking in Manchester’s Millyard.

So, let me ask you, people of the future — how’s it going? Did we ever get flying cars? What’s going on in May 2020? Because right now, I’m not sure any of us have any clue what it’s going to be like a week from now, let alone nearly two months.

This is not the column I thought I would be writing.

I’m supposed to be chronicling my daughter’s high school graduation and dad-bragging about everything she’s accomplished and how I can’t believe time has passed so quickly. Instead, this one’s all about how we have no idea what life will be like in May. Will there be a senior award night, a music banquet, an arts major signing day, prom? Will there even be graduation?

I know disappointment over possibly losing these things seems petty when others are dealing with more serious challenges — something we may have to face between the time when I’m typing this sentence and when the magazine goes to the printer. But it’s OK to feel a sense of loss for things we’ve dreamed about and looked forward to for years.

Still, I have to try to take the positive out of the situation. Let’s take stock:

  • I found a YouTube video that loops “Crockett’s Theme” from “Miami Vice” for 30 minutes straight. You may think I’m making this up. I assure you I am not.
  • My daughter’s Animal Crossing island is an embarrassment of riches where every citizen lives in utter excess. Even that knee-capper Tom Nook has a begrudging respect for her financial acuity.
  • My daughter has been able to see a lot of people going out of their way to help one another. There are more examples of “how can I help?” than “I’ve got a closet full of ammo. Don’t touch my stuff.”
  • I’ve always jealously guarded the time we have together as a family. Well, now I’ve got plenty of it.

I feel lucky that my kid seems to be weathering the unknown fairly well, especially since she has no idea what comes next. She’s supposed to go to college in Maine next fall, and she’s not even sure how that’s going to go. None of us are.

So, person from the future, what happens next?

Bill Burke is a writer who lives with his wife and daughter (seriously, like, nonstop, 24/7) in southern New Hampshire. He is also Managing Editor of Custom Publications for McLean Communications.

Categories: Dad on Board