so many ways

There are lots of ways to reckon with big questions, and while we've been forced to make home our proving ground, we've found perspective here, distilled our needs to most the basic: food and shelter and love.
Also, screens.
While the world is held hostage by a microscopic assailant, we are learning about ourselves and about each other and about how the hell to live like this.
We are so lucky to have the woods adjacent to our yard, a way to let the house breathe. We spend most afternoons outside.

The first week of quarantine, the boys rode their bikes up and down the dead end street, back and forth a thousand times. The second week they maneuvered through the woods to the bottom of the hill where there's a circular path around the park, doing hundreds of laps a day. Sometimes I could catch a glimpse of the small speck of their brightly colored sweatshirts as they whizzed by. Now they're essentially free-range, somewhere in the neighborhood, on mostly empty streets.
They are wearing helmets, and I am learning to trust them.

Learning happens in so many ways.

While the dining table doubles as a desk and the couch switches from zoom central to Disney and snacks, our home bends mostly to our will. On rainy days especially the boys' needs bump against my own, all of us housebound and jittery. We have room to spread out and fortunately no concern over paying the monthly mortgage. Sometimes, though, everyone seems to be screaming at once. Other times, perhaps less frequently, we stumble into moments of easy, joyful togetherness.

We are all learning, with tenderness and trepidation and more tantrums than I care to count.
There is, understandably, some resistance to sitting still for five whole minutes of academic time at home. The boys complete distance assignments most mornings, writing and math, but they also mail letters to friends and help double recipes in the kitchen.

Tolliver tends to procrastinate, diving deep into wooden blocks, some imaginary world of architecture and army battles, almost the opposite of what I'd like as his teacher, and everything I want as his mom.

I've learned a bit of ballet from Hank and he's learning from me to fold laundry. We've also completed every craft the internet knows.

Together the boys disassembled an old accordian in the driveway, figuring out how the air might've flowed through the bellows and across strips of brass to create sound.

Tucker's been reading about Isaac Newton and camel crickets and after a recent podcast we rabbit-holed immortal hydra. He's been thinking hard about generators, bouncing around ideas for solar panels and potential stored energy. From his spot in the temporary indoor hammock he reads aloud from magazines while I clean up the kitchen, wondering whether I knew the canary islands were actually named after dogs.

I stand six feet from my mother in the driveway and feel the void stretch deep and aching between us. We are learning what it feels like to miss someone who's only a few minutes away, that it hurts not to touch.

Learning happens in so many ways.


rht said...

Last night I dreamed a family dinner in our dining room. Today I am dreaming about the ways in which your boys are going to use all this learning to make the world a safer, better place.... energy, architecture, dance, exploration, creativity, kindness.

Poppy John said...

Jenni Baby,
When I assisted Ed with some surveys, there were old "markers" like the rock pile which Tolliver is climbing. Original deed contained language like, "Sixteen rods northeast from the forked Oak tree to the stacked rock pile." Circa 1815. etc.
Any chance?