My dad and I have always lived close to each other, but throughout most of my adult life, we’ve had a tough time coordinating our schedules. We are both workaholics who are terrible at planning. He’s also got a pretty robust social life that is mostly arranged by his wife. I can’t even tell you how many times my dad and I have planned to get together and then one of us has canceled.

All throughout my 20s, my dad was the one who was more unavailable. And then after I had kids, the tables turned. It got worse as the kids got older because he’d want to go out for dinner on a random weeknight, and I’d have to tell him that Mazzy has homework or that’s when we put the kids to bed. I’d suggest getting together over the weekend instead, but he would be out of town.

It bothered me that my dad didn’t have a closer relationship with my girls, but I just didn’t know where to find the time.

Now that we are both quarantining at home, one town away from each other, and seriously limiting who we see, my dad suddenly has nothing but free time. In the beginning of the pandemic, we kept our distance, but now that we’ve been here a few months, our house has become an extension of their bubble.

My dad has suddenly become a master of the surprise pop-in. I’ll be upstairs and then hear my dad’s voice talking to Mike in the drive away. Or his laugh drifting into the house as he splashes around with the girls in the pool, when I didn’t even know he was over. Or he’ll just knock on the door and drop off kale from my stepmother’s garden, extra masks for the girls or something as simple as sidewalk chalk.

My dad has always been a huge fixture in my life (whether he was physically present or not) but I think during the last few months, his presence in Mazzy and Harlow’s life has grown exponentially.

I’m looking for all the silver linings I can find during this crazy time and this is a big one.

We no longer have to plan to see my dad.

He’s just around.