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Today is Charlie’s eighth birthday. For the first time, we will not be celebrating with a traditional party. Friends and loved ones have been invited to stop by the house for a socially distant birthday greeting tomorrow (when the weather will be better), but there will be far fewer fun and games this year.

Somehow, someway, Charlie is okay with this. He loves his birthday and had been planning his party long before the pandemic hit, but when I told him how sorry I was that his original plans were cancelled and assured him that we would recreate his party when it was safe, he said, “No worries. We’ll have a socially distant thing on the front lawn. It’s fine.”

And he meant it.

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. Folks are struggling for a myriad of reasons. COVID-19 and joblessness has directly impacted so many families, but it’s also been difficult for healthy, gainfully-employed Americans to face the uncertainty and sweeping changes that the pandemic has brought.

Charlie has been impacted, too, of course, but I must say:

Overall, Charlie is one chill dude.

Charlie is an optimist who manages unexpected changes with aplomb. He finds joy in such simple things. He brushes away most problems like gnats.

I’ve been trying like hell to win the pandemic, but without any effort or intent on his part, Charlie has already won.

Happy birthday, buddy.