So, fun news: I have Covid-19. It took nearly 3 years and a few lucky misses, but this time I finally got hit by the dodgeball.

I first started feeling a sore, raspy throat on Monday. I took a test then: negative. Then, right after I woke up, I took another test on Tuesday: negative again. Despite the second negative test, I felt poorly enough to take a sick day off work, which I spent resting and napping. It was only Wednesday, yesterday morning, after 2 days of a sore throat and one day of major fatigue and body aches, that the test finally came back positive.

The past day or so has been a mental whirlwind since: determining isolation protocols, moving items around the house, taking medicine, talking to the doctor, informing friends and family about the news, etc.

When I was first feeling sick on Monday, I visited some friends at their place while wearing a mask. When I told them I tested positive yesterday, instead of showing anger, they showed grace — they even offered to let Mr. BooksandTea stay with them to give me a chance to isolate. We cat-sit for each other and play Pokemon Go regularly. I’ve known the husband of this couple since high school, and it means a lot to have people so close who care so much.

Today, my mom came by with some groceries I requested and included a few extras, including some homemade soup and turkey pot pie. I had bought her a tub of feta cheese last month because it was on sale at the Asian grocery near me. Despite the fact that I had bought her the feta last month, the surplus groceries and food felt like too much. But as I was ferrying stuff from the doorway to the freezer, it struck me: this reciprocity, this adding of little extras to show we care – this is how we love each other.

I kept on repeating that phrase to myself.

My sister gets sick with covid over the Christmas break, so I order groceries online to be delivered to her door. I toss a bottle of vitamin D pills into the order. This is how we love each other.

Our friends open their home to my husband so he has a place to sleep while I’m isolating, despite the fact that I’ve potentially exposed them to covid. This is how we love each other.

My mother and I buy groceries for each other. She makes me soup and pot pie. This is how we love each other.

And then, of course, there was this, which arrived in my home not two hours ago, to reinforce the message.

I have a lovely friend that I talk to every Sunday, that I sometimes watch Netflix with, that I’ve been role-playing with for years — and she just sent me a Christmas present out of the blue. I opened it while sitting on my sickbed to reveal a stunning round of cloth in crimson and navy blue with multi-coloured flowers. The package also contained scented soaps and body washes, and a pristine, empty address book. What a beautiful surprise when you’re sick! This is how we love each other.

It feels so good and so humbling to be loved so much.

Last week, when I was trying to plan out how 2023 was going to go, I wasn’t sure what my guiding principle for the year would be. What word, what goal, what mantra would I try to live by? I think I’ve found my answer.