Sue Hoppin

"The bus stop visits with kids have stopped. Our puppy is despondent."
Sue Hoppin And Momo 2.jpg Cropped

Sue Hoppin, founder and president of the National Military Spouse Network, with her puppy Momo

A couple decades as a military family and multiple deployments prepared me well for the hurry-up-and-wait component of this pandemic. But whereas the deployments had specified durations, this crisis has no clear timeline.  I’m slowly coming to terms with the idea that I may be looking at our new normal.

As a pilot, my husband isn’t surprised that he won’t be flying for at least the next few months. My own business was getting ready for a busy season of events that all had to be cancelled or moved online. My team and I have had to be creative in finding ways to keep our contractors employed.

I do feel fortunate. What we’re going through is mild compared to the job losses and financial hardships other people are experiencing. I know we’re lucky. It feels self-indulgent to mourn the loss of little rituals that I used to take for granted.

Before coronavirus, I was walking our puppy, Momo, one day when kids started gathering at our driveway to wait for their bus. Naturally, they gravitated toward Momo—because who doesn’t love a puppy?

Eventually the bus stop visits became a daily ritual. Somewhere along the way we instituted Hot Chocolate Fridays. The kids enjoyed their treats while chatting away and running around the yard with Momo.

No one looked forward to those visits more than Momo. She timed her days to the kids’ departure and arrival. Other buses could pass by with nary a reaction, but once her bus approached, her entire body vibrated and her tail wagged furiously.

Now those visits have stopped and she’s despondent.

I know how she feels. I miss those kids and their parents. I miss monthly brunches with our son, who is grown and quarantining in D.C. I miss happy hours with colleagues and dinners out.

I know it’s important for us to stay home and shelter in place, so for now I’ll enjoy weekly Zoom dinners with family, virtual meetings and socially distanced conversations with our neighbors that take place with a street between us.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t mourn the loss of all those little rituals.

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