Stacey Loscalzo

Latest Posts

Jul 08

Happy 17th Birthday Caroline!

by Stacey

I am so incredibly proud of you. I don’t really say this to you often enough do I? You know why? Cause it seems so obvious that I would be proud of you, that I think I forget it is still super important to say it. And sometimes, you do so many great things, that I am almost embarrassed to share it all on social media cause it feels braggy. So then I don’t share but then I think you wonder why I don’t so now I will 🙂 

You are entering your Senior year (how?!) and you have already contributed so much to your school. You set goals for yourself Freshman year and you have met all of them. You just received the GPA that you will include on your college application and… wow. You have challenged yourself in your course selections each year. Every spring, I question if you are pushing yourself too hard and each year you have proven that you know what you can handle and you excel academically. The grade stuff is important of course but it is all the rest that makes me the most proud. 

You are an amazing leader and your teachers, coaches and peers value your leadership skills so much that next year you will be Varsity Soccer Captain, DECA CEO, Lead Peer Counselor and Managing Editor of the newspaper. Earning even one of those roles would be a huge compliment to who you are as a person but all of them? I really can’t put into words what this means. Because you are in the midst of it, I think it is hard for you to understand what it means to have earned each of those responsibilities. All this means that the people in your life believe in you. They trust you to get the hard work done and they know that people respect you. That’s pretty much the goal of life right there. 

Then there are the friendships you have formed over the past few years. You have more friends than anyone I know but more important than the number of people who like to be with you are the people themselves. You connect with all different sorts of people and the richness that your friends bring to your life makes me so happy. I think making friends and being friendly comes so naturally to you that you don’t really appreciate what a big deal this really is. You are so lucky to be loved so well. 

And then there is the sister and the daughter that you are. You made a lot of jokes during quarantine about wishing you could have chosen a different group to be stuck with but I know you loved being with us as much as we loved being with you. When you are home (even stuck at home for months!) our house is full of joy and kindness and lots and lots of talking. I feel so lucky that you love Katherine the way you do. Watching your relationship grow is one of the things that makes me the happiest about being a mom. 

I am so proud to call you my daughter. I love you and I can’t wait to see what next year holds for you. 

Happy Birthday sweet girl!

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May 24

One Hundred Thousand Lives

by Stacey

By now, I would guess that most people have seen images of today’s New York Times. The cover features 1,000 names, a mere percentage of the people our country has lost to Covid-19. We live in Bergen County, New Jersey, an area that has been deeply impacted by this virus. Still though, on local Facebook pages today, I see comments implying that this virus isn’t real. That we lose more people each year to heart disease. That each winter we lose many, many people to the flu. Reading these thoughts, from people who live in a hot spot, worries me. But more so, it makes me understand how difficult it is for people outside of our area to comprehend the seriousness of this issue. Other parts of the country quarantined in time to avoid the number of losses we have felt here but as our country opens up, I fear that more and more communities will be impacted the way ours has. 

This morning, a friend posted that her mother’s is one of the names on the front page. I think about all the pictures I have seen over the years of her big family gatherings with her mother, always in the center, so clearly loved. This is just one family on a list of 1,000 representing a list of 100,000 families. 

Many of these deaths were avoidable. This statement is not based in politics but in science. 

I almost wonder if the number of deaths is now becoming so large that people, who somehow have not been impacted personally, are unable to wrap their heads around this number. Not because they aren’t intelligent, just because the number is so big it makes it hard to personalize. 

I know it is time for us to get back out in the world and I think we can do it safely. But I think we have to maintain distance from people. I think we have to wear masks when we are in public places. I think we have to limit the sizes of our gatherings and I think we have to try to gather outside as much as possible. 

I love what the Times did this morning but I wonder if we, as individuals, need to think beyond this list to the individuals. If you are lucky and don’t know someone personally, maybe think of my friend’s mother? Or maybe read this list closely and see if one of the individual’s bios resonates with you and then think about that person when you navigate your way around the world for the next few months.

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May 21

The Governor’s Group Chat

by Stacey

“Do you think they have a group chat called ‘the Tri-State Governors Squad?” Caroline asked while discussing how the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut governors are making decisions together regarding re-opening. As New Jersey residents,we are pretty plugged into the decisions these men are making- their names and their thoughts are referenced often over the course of our quarantined days. Things got silly quickly when we wondered which one of the governors doesn’t have an iPhone. I voted for Lamont, governor of Connecticut. He just seems like he might be an android kind of guy. You know how there is always one person in each group chat who doesn’t have an iPhone? And then you are stuck not being able to name the group chat? So then you have a bunch of different group chats with some of the same people and some different people and you inevitably end up texting something in the wrong group and you just hope that is never something catty or mean? 

I’m off topic before I’ve even begun so anyway… yes. I think the governors have a group chat. And I think they have decided to open our beaches as a test at best and so that they can say ‘I told you so’ at worst. I picture them as seasoned parents. I am too over-protective to operate this way as a mom but I know there are plenty of parents out there who let their children learn and grow by making mistakes. I feel like this is what the governors are doing. 

Just like our children do, their constituents must have relentlessly begged to go to the beach. The governors weighed the pros and cons and decided to be hopeful. They are hopeful that the virus spreads less efficiently outside than inside. They are hopeful that we will follow the rules of social distancing. They are hopeful that we will stay home if we feel sick. They are hopeful that we will wear masks when we wait in line for beach badges. 

If this all goes according to plan, our beaches can remain open. If we don’t all act like responsible citizens, I believe our beach privileges will be taken away. Like we do with our children- give us a little, see if we can handle the responsibility and then react accordingly. 

Unfortunately, for both the governors and parents, the stakes are high. If all goes well, we are able to finally get outside, enjoy the beach and have a summer that resembles our summers past. If all does not go well, we see spikes in Covid-19 cases and deaths. 

I don’t envy the governor’s decisions. But I can empathize with them. I feel like as a parent, and especially as a parent of two teenagers, we are about to enter a really hard summer of nearly constant decision making. We are going to weigh pros and cons daily if not hourly. What are the risks to saying yes to this plan or that one? Is it ok to go on a bike ride with one friend or to a backyard get together with five friends? What if the bikers aren’t wearing masks but the group in the backyard is? Does that change the answer? Is the risk of denying social teenagers time with their friends worse than the risk of contracting coronavirus? 

Now I am wondering if I can get in on the tri-state governors group chat? Maybe we can navigate this upcoming summer together…. 

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May 16

To Be Brave Is To Be Cautious

by Stacey

“The brave do not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”

-Princess Diaries

This quote, while written before Covid-19, feels like a question perfectly designed for the debate that rages today. And really, has this quote been turned on its head?

A friend shared this quote earlier this week and I can’t get it out of my mind. I read it while wringing my sweaty hands before taking Daisy to the groomer. I hadn’t been to a store in seven weeks. I have been outside for countless walks but I had not been in a building other than our home in around fifty days. I did the grocery shopping at the beginning of quarantine and each time I went, I became more and more anxious. Rob took over the food shopping on the day he discovered me in our mudroom cleaning our groceries in my bra and underwear. I was so concerned that there might be germs on my clothes that I had left them outside. 

As I watched people flock to bars in Wisconsin after their Supreme Court ruled stay at home laws unconstitutional, I truly couldn’t believe my eyes. With our NJ beaches beginning to open, will we see similar unmasked crowds here? I fear we will. 

I do understand that we need to tiptoe back out there, that we can not stay in our houses forever. But perhaps, the bravery now is in being cautious? In going back out there but in going back out there cautiously. Yes to bookstores (Bookshelf Thomasville- a store in Georgia that I love following on-line) that are making appointments for one customer at a time to browse the shelves. Yes to groomers (Woof Gang Bakery in Ridgewood) that take one appointment at a time so there are no overlapping customers. Yes to grocery stores (Trader Joe’s) that keep count of the people in their stores and place workers at the end of aisles to maintain one way walking rules. But no to bars crowded with people. No to parks overflowing with large groups. And it pains this beach lover to say this but no to beaches where social distancing just feels impossible. 

We are clearly in uncharted territory. I keep thinking back to the people who lived during the Depression and during World War II. I think of them now when I read quotes in newspaper articles that say “We just can’t keep closed up.” “It can’t go on like this.” But here’s the thing. Maybe we don’t want it to go on like this but it can. In the same way my grandparents didn’t want the Depression to go on but it did. In the same way my parents didn’t want World War II to go on but it did. Of course, like the people in those historic times, we don’t want to keep our economy closed. We don’t want to stay in our houses. We don’t want to keep our kids out of school. But can we? Yes, we can. It turns out, like our grandparents and our parents, we have drawn a short straw. We are living in a dark day. And it takes brave leaders to acknowledge this and to ask their people to do really hard things. And it takes brave citizens to follow these recommendations to keep themselves healthy and to keep the vulnerable among us alive. In some ways, we have more control of this situation than our grandparents and parents did in their dark days. If we follow the advice of our doctors and scientists, our dark days will be shorter than if we decide to ignore their advice. There is power in that. There is individual responsibility in that. And for now, there is bravery in being cautious. 

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May 11

Be A Squirrel

by Stacey

I’m pretty sure there aren’t any inspirational quotes that read “Be a squirrel!” but I think there should be. This week, a friend told a story that led me to re-read one of our favorite picture books and now I am all about squirrels. Give me a second and you might agree that this isn’t quite as weird as it sounds. 

My friend began his story by telling us that he had just sent a text to his daughter that read “Be an fs today.” Now, Jim loves acronyms so I knew that fs stood for something interesting. I settled in to find out exactly what it meant. He went on to tell the story of his mom, a woman he often credits with his can-do attitude. Every day at four o’clock, she would take a break from her daily work to sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea. Shortly after the door closed behind her, nearly daily, the family would hear her shout, “Go away you f****in’ squirrels.” You see, she had a bird feeder and like many people, she spent a lot of time keeping the squirrels away from the food that was meant for the birds. And as any of us who have kept bird feeders can imagine, she wasn’t very successful. No matter how hard you work, no matter how many times you tell them to go away, those f****in’ squirrels- or fs-s- just keep coming back. 

As I listened, I kept thinking of one of our favorite picture books, Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin. In Those Darn Squirrels, a curmudgeonly old man named Mr. Fookwire loves painting birds. As winter approaches, Mr. Fookwire realizes that the birds will soon fly south so he builds elaborate bird feeders to keep them close. Of course, the birds aren’t the only creatures who love the feeders and a hysterical back and forth ensues between Mr. Fookwire and a very clever bunch of squirrels. The  story ends with the squirrels dressing as birds and Mr. Fookwire realizing that while these animals may not be the same as the birds he is comfortable with, he can grow to love them all the same. 

Over this past weekend, I couldn’t get Those Darn Squirrels out of my mind. Those f****in’ squirrels just kept on keeping on. They kept trying until they achieved their goal. They were going to be what my friend reminded his daughter to be- a fs. 

And isn’t that what we are all doing? Each morning my alarm goes off and I wake up (begrudgingly as I am not a morning person) and put one foot in front of the other and start a new day. And Rob and the girls are doing the same thing. Every single day. And we are all doing it holding on to hope that things will keep moving forward. 

In the past few months, Katherine has missed three dance performances but you know what she does every afternoon? She takes dance classes on Zoom, working to improve her technique, increase her flexibility and just do the thing that brings her the most joy. There are no performances on the schedule and truthfully it is hard to imagine when there will be again. But she just keeps dancing because it brings her joy and because she is confident and hopeful that one day her feet will be on a stage again. 

Over the past few months, Caroline achieved two long term goals. She was selected as both soccer team captain and president of DECA for next school year. These are roles she has dreamed of throughout high school. She has looked forward to her senior year hopeful that she could be the role model that people were to her. Her spring club soccer season was canceled and her fall high school season feels pretty up in the air. But you know what she does? She continues to run and train for soccer and participates on Zoom calls with current and future teammates. Her trip to DECA nationals was canceled but this weekend, she spent lots of time on the phone, with other DECA leaders, brainstorming ideas to keep their chapter great next year. She just keeps doing these things because they bring her joy and because she is confident and hopeful that there will be a soccer season in the fall and DECA competitions in the winter.

The truth is we have no idea what September will bring us. Katherine and Caroline will be high school freshman and seniors, respectively- two milestone years. And we have no idea what those years are going to look like. I am having a hard time with this as are the girls but I am also incredibly proud of them. They are carrying on, like Those Darn Squirrels, putting on foot in front of the other preparing for whatever is coming. It seems likely that next year isn’t going to look like the year that we all had imagined. At the simplest level, it seems like we will all be wearing masks but I am starting to think about even bigger changes. Like Mr. Fookwire who had to learn to paint squirrels dressed as birds instead of birds, we are going to have to adapt. But also like Mr. Fookwire, I am hopeful that we can grow to love whatever it is that comes our way. After all, like an fs, we have to move forward each and every day toward our goals. 

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Apr 15

Yellow Striped Sneakers

by Stacey

I have finally started to jot down notes- articles to go back to, books to read, things I want to remember long enough to write about them. My memory for detail has always wavered but during this time of ultimate distraction, thoughts and ideas fly in and then out of my head at record speed. So, I’ve been taking notes in Google Docs and in my notebook. Last night, as I collected the laundry basket from our closet, I spotted my new pair of sneakers. A few years ago I discovered Gola, a brand of casual sneakers. They are comfortable and cute enough to wear with leggings in the winter and sundresses in the summer- rounding out my typical daily uniform. 

We were scheduled to take a long awaited spring break to Florida this year so before we saw the writing on the wall, I ordered new bathing suits and a new pair of Golas with a summer-y bright yellow stripe. I returned the bathing suits but kept the sneakers and they sit in my closet taunting me each day. Last night, when I got downstairs, I opened up my Google Doc and wrote down the words- ‘the site of summer-y sneakers.’ I was angry when I wrote the note. Mad at this inanimate object that tricks me into thinking I might have a chance to leave our house this summer in a pair of fun sneakers. 

Of course, I had forgotten about my sneaker sighting by this morning but I was reminded of it when I opened my Google Doc. I am in an on-line writing class right now with the amazing Jena Schwartz- if you don’t know Jena, please go visit her site. Jena’s writing prompts are the best and she and her community are definitely a large part of what is getting me through this time. Jena’s writing prompt this morning was ‘Tell Us About Your Plans’. In her prompt, Jena quoted her rabbi who said that he is ‘‘planning for the future as if there is one.’ I re-read my notes from last night with a different lens. After reading those words, my note about my sneakers didn’t bring on the same anger as it had last night. Perhaps in my subconscious, these summer-y, yellow striped sneakers are a way of planning for the future as if there is one? I took my sneakers out today and started breaking them in. Let’s cross all our fingers and toes that we have trips and parties and get togethers to go to this summer. Afterall, I have my shoes all picked out and ready to go. 

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Apr 10

Happy 14th Birthday Katherine!

by Stacey

Dear Katherine, 

The other day you pointed out that the even numbered birthdays sound older than the odd ones. Maybe that’s why I can’t quite figure out how you are turning fourteen? I’ve always hoped that you would look back on these letters and they would help you remember what life was like for you during that moment in time. Something makes me think that you won’t need a letter to remember these days. It will be our 28th day of sheltering in place as we join with the rest of our community to fight the coronavirus. Days filled with family, time sitting in the sunshine on the deck, walking Daisy, watching The Fosters, enduring movie night, going to virtual school and loving Zoom dance classes. 

When this all started, Caroline said, ‘If I am going to be stuck with the same people for all this time, I should have been able to pick the people.’ After saying that though, she did admit that she would actually choose you as one of her people and I know we all feel the same way. 

While you are enjoying time on your own, as you always do, you are also spending lots of time with Caroline on the deck laughing and sunbathing, pretending we actually took our long awaited trip to Florida. I love looking out the window to see you quietly on your phone or your Kindle or loudly laughing with Caroline. I see all the parts I love about you in this scene. Your quiet independent self but also the person who likes to be silly and laugh and connect with the people you love. 

In June, one way or another, you will have your eighth grade promotion. Your middle school years have passed with lots of joy, some tears and an immense amount of growth as a student. You have learned to organize your time in a way that allows you to succeed in school while also spending lots of hours after school dancing. You have learned to participate in your classes and to go to teachers for help even if it feels uncomfortable sometimes. 

You continue to be an amazing friend. Groups are such a huge part of middle school and you have navigated this confusing territory well. You surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself, a skill that alludes many people even into adulthood. I love walking past your room hearing you laugh as you Group FaceTime with your friends. And no, I still can’t figure out how to work Group FaceTime but I am so glad you have. 

And of course, I can’t write one of these letters without thinking about you as a dancer. Your fierce determination to improve is motivating to everyone around you. But beyond that, you have grown into an artist who inspires people with your performance on stage. For the past few years, you have worked with your favorite teachers to create a solo. I have always been amazed at your strength and grace on stage but this year’s performance brought everyone, not just your mom, to tears. Your teachers, your friends and their moms all cried as they watched you on stage. Your emotional connection to dance is not something that can be taught. Your love of your craft comes through on stage and I am so proud of the dancer you are becoming. 

I know this is a birthday you won’t forget but I hope along with all that is weird and crazy about today, you will also remember how much we all love you. 

Happy Quarantine Birthday to my sweet, sweet girl.

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Mar 31

Can We Feel Gratitude and Grief?

by Stacey

Yesterday, an old friend (in time not age) shared a clip from Glennon Doyle’s instagram page. We are huge fans of Glennon Doyle and her wife Abby Wambach in our house but had somehow missed this particular video. What I love the most about Glennon is how she makes us think about hard things and laugh in equal measure. The clip that my friend shared yesterday was about grief. Please take a few minutes to click here and watch Glennon explain it to you but the gist is that we are all grieving right now and that is ok. 

I firmly believe that we have to be positive and grateful for what we do have if we are going to get through this but… I had a dream last night after watching Glennon speak. This dream led me to know that I am not only grateful but also really sad and angry and that is ok. 

I dreamt that I arrived at my retina surgeon’s office for my last pre-op appointment and the receptionist pointed at a note on the sign-in sheet. The note was written in tiny cursive writing. I couldn’t read it at all. When I told her that my vision was blurry and I couldn’t understand the message, she just kept pointing at it despite my protests. After a long time and lots of frustration on my part, in a whisper that I could barely hear, she told me that all appointments and surgeries for the next two days would be subject to a massive Passover up-charge of tens of thousands of dollars. I have no idea what Passover had to do with anything so this remains the part of the dream that could deal with some analysis. But anyway, the receptionist recommended that I reschedule my surgery. I stormed out of the office and called Rob screaming. When I woke up, I was so mad at my surgeon that I could still feel my fists curled up in anger.

Now back to the real world. I was scheduled for my last eye surgery on March 19th. On March 15th, all elective surgeries in New York were canceled. I’ve spent a lot of time being positive about this situation. If I was going to press pause during this year’s long eye journey, this really was the best place to do it. Both my retinas are fully attached and I have perfect vision in my left eye. Thank goodness for all that. But you know what? In my right eye, I have a huge cataract (a normal side effect of retinal surgery) and still a tiny gas bubble (also a normal result of my last retinal surgery) that both require surgery. As a result of all this, my vision is really incredibly poor. In addition, I have dry eyes caused by drops I am still on and will be on until I can have this surgery. I can only read really large fonts and sometimes by the end of the day (eyes get drier as the day goes on), I have to give up on reading all together because my vision is so blurry. I have the font enlarged on my phone and have to pre-type everything in a google doc where I can type in an 18 font. I then copy and paste what I have written to emails or Facebook or my blog or really wherever I need to share written information. If driving at night were still a thing, I would have to patch my right eye because the cataract combined with headlights and street lights causes double vision. Because of the gas bubble, I am still limited to what types of exercise I can do. Needless to say, all this is not ideal. Better than it could be, I keep reminding myself, buf far from ideal. 

Watching Glennon yesterday and having this dream last night, made me realize just how much we all really are grieving right now. I hope I can find a balance over these next few weeks (I’m still refusing to say months) between gratitude and grief. I know this is a tricky place to be but I am up for the challenge. Gratitude and grief? Can these two emotions really live side by side? I guess it’s time to figure that out. Anyone with me? 

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Mar 30

A Small Way to Support Indie Bookstores

by Stacey

I opened my email about an hour ago and noticed a trend. Small businesses and charities are running out of money. I read two emails back to back- one from Page 1 Books, an independent bookstore that I follow on-line and one from the 92nd Street Y. Neither of these emails took time to sugar coat their situations. The emails were flat out calls for financial contributions to help these organizations stay afloat. I know this is only the beginning of the emails that will flood our inboxes as small business and charities struggle to stay open, to pay employees, to imagine a future where they have weathered this storm. 

As a family, we are thinking through how we will support the many businesses and organizations we value. Over the weekend, I took one small step to help our favorite local bookstore, The Curious Reader. And I am even more glad to let you know that near or far, you too can support either The Curious Reader (please!) or any other independent bookstores that you love. 

I have been an Audible subscriber for as long as I can remember. While I don’t listen to a ton of audio books, I listen to enough that having an Audible subscription made sense. But this weekend, I switched my audiobook subscription to and now all of my audiobook purchases will benefit The Curious Reader, who desperately needs our support to get through this time instead of Amazon who will come out of this crisis without our help. It was super easy to sign up for and their platform seems very similar to Audible so there wasn’t much of a learning curve to get started. 

Please click here to learn more about and if you are interested in helping my friends at The Curious Reader, please do! 

And if you are curious to know which books I have enjoyed on audio lately, here are a few suggestions…. 

Know My Name by Chanel Miller- This book is phenomenal and truthfully I think it should be required reading for all college students. I think MIller’s writing is just about the best that I have read in a really long time. 

Fractured by Karin Slaughter- Karin Slaughter is a new to me author. For years, if I needed something that would be an easy read, Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson were my go to authors. I have been on the lookout for a new author in this category for a long time and Karin Slaughter is it! 

All Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg- My mom came and stayed with us for a bit after my last eye surgery and her book club had just finished and really loved All Over But the Shoutin’. I accidentally listened to the abridged version but it was so good that I would definitely recommend the full book if you can find it. 

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup- This was another post surgery listen. Well written thrillers like the Chestnut Man are among my favorites and the pace of this one was so fast that it was extra fun on audio.

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich- For a long time, true crime was the only type of book that I would listen to on audio and this was a great one. The Fact of the Body was a ‘true crime memoir’ which was a really interesting concept.  

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Mar 24

Listen to the Truth Tellers

by Stacey

From the time the girls were very little we have told them the truth. So much so that some people may have questioned our parenting decisions. From birth to death and everything in between, if the girls asked questions and seemed ready to hear the answers, we provided them with age appropriate and truthful responses. While it just seemed like the right thing to do, we also felt in some small way, like it helped to keep anxiety at bay. At least for us, sharing and knowing the truth, even if the truth was sad or scary, always felt better than withholding it. 

These days, my social media feed is full of people praising New York Governor Coumo. While I have recently read a few comments that while he is great in a crisis, he isn’t perfect, for now, he is the leader I will follow. There are obvious and critical differences between Governor Coumo and our president but one of the most important ones to me is their handling and telling of the truth. 

If I am able to watch more than a few minutes of the president talking, I walk away feeling far more anxious than when I started listening. I will sit and listen to nearly the entirety of Governor Coumo’s press conferences and feel better when it is over. In some ways, this makes no sense. The president is painting a far prettier picture than the one Governor Cuomo paints. But you know what? Like the girls, I prefer the truth. Ignoring medicine and scientists in the face of a global pandemic is not the same as faking a smile until you feel happy. Lying to the country is not the same as using the power of positivity to make a bad situation better. It is dangerous and cruel. Ignoring the truth and telling lies will make this all worse and every independent thinking lay person understands this. 

As I watch major news channels cut away from the president’s press conferences and people on social media who I know have supported the president in the past begin to question, I am hopeful. Please, please let these small changes be enough to bring about a massive change. Please let the scientists and doctors have the loudest voice. We must listen to them. We must stay home. The alternative is too scary. 

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