Dad Matters: To Whoever is Listening

Dad Matters: To Whoever is Listening

How are you? We’re about four months into (gestures vaguely) whatever this is, and it’s worth doing a sanity check.

I’m not a religious person — not in the churchgoing or apologetic sense — but I believe in the value of prayer and meditation.

And I’ve been praying more than usual lately, as I suspect many of us have been. Each evening before I fall asleep, I petition whomever might be listening.

I pray for my kids. I’m not really worried about their health. I’ve read and re-read all the statistics about children being at less risk than adults to die from COVID-19. But they’ve had to deal with me a lot, and almost all of their friends and cousins have been reduced to faces on screens.

I pray they still get to be kids — that they’ll get to have birthday parties and go to the zoo again soon without fear of microbes. And when they look back on these times, I pray they remember the walks in the park and extra snuggles — and not me screaming all the time.

I pray for my parents and all the grandparents who haven’t gotten to hug their grandkids in 16 weeks. The video chats and visits through the window can be sweet, but a hundred Zoom calls can’t replace a single hug.

I pray for my wife and all our fellow parents. They’re working and parenting and serving as adjunct kindergarten or calculus teachers. It’s like trying to juggle seven chainsaws with one arm already sliced off.

I pray for my family. Not just because they’re my family, but because this is Cleveland so 97 percent of them work in health care. They are doctors, nurses, therapists, paramedics and gerontologists. They work in intensive care units, emergency rooms, operating rooms and on task forces to help those affected and infected. I’m so proud of their selflessness, and I hope they don’t die for it.

I pray for my friends who own movie theaters, restaurants and other businesses. They have always been there for the community when my library needed summer reading prizes or a softball team needed a sponsor. I pray the community is now there for them.

I pray for my kids’ school and preschool teachers. I know they miss their students and want to see them.

I pray for the kids who don’t have iPads or adults who can help them with their schoolwork.

I pray for my friend whose child has been in the ICU since she was born and that she can visit her again soon.

I pray for my neighbor who has beaten cancer twice. I hope she beats this, too.

I pray for those of you who have already lost someone. It may seem trite to offer “thoughts and prayers” for those suffering from loss and grief. But, if my prayer is all I can give you, I hope it provides a moment’s solace.

I pray for you. I wish you peace, health, safety and security, or as many of them as you can get for this moment.

And I ask that you pray for me, too.

About the author

Jason Lea has a son, daughter, and a full-time job at the Mentor Public Library. He also blogs for Northeast Ohio Parent in his nonexistent free time. You can find this East-sider on Twitter at @jasonmarklea or read his blog at

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