I was not born with an imagination big enough to encompass this page in history.

Our family is intimately familiar with disease and sanitation and prayers for a cure, with the way everything can feel all at once urgent and sacred and scary and dear.
It's not that we held the belief that all of our hard things had already happened, not that it came as any surprise how past crises can tap on new tender places. But a nation of neighbors showing up by staying home, of humans washing hands and stocking shelves and searching for solutions, collectively doing the good, hard work of saving each other from each other?

Some small part of it feels reminiscent, busying ourselves with survival and with searching for every small beauty.

Some days a moment slides by when the world of our house is not oriented toward the pandemic. The boys have been out of school for more than a month, missing a fair chunk of time for the trip even before buildings were closed.
Learning is still open though, in the kitchen, at the piano and in the woods out back. We've had lessons on arranging flowers and flying kites and folding laundry and calculating area and collecting rays of sun. I've never been more proud of how wild and intelligent and resilient the boys are.

One young man said yesterday that he was beginning to understand how sickening it can be to spend time with the same people every day. Yes, I thought as I hugged him. He strapped on his helmet and took off on his bike and returned in a cheerier mood.
Sickening, he'd said. But what if this is all the time we have? I let myself wonder for a split second.
It is their job to stay children and my job to stay calm.

Andy has always showered as soon as he comes home from work, no scrubs in the house ever. But his systems have shifted toward even more precaution. He only carries car keys and his badge, no wallet and no work bag, and washes all of it in the mudroom each evening. My sister is on the frontline too, and after a million conversations about whether Nora could be a conduit between our homes, she comes here when necessary. There are two things I can say about this:
1. Babies in the house have a way of making life land back in the present.
2. The confidence I lack in most government officials, I have in every single healthcare worker I know.

Despite quarantine and uncertainty, happiness has not been suspended for the foreseeable future. There are letters coming in the mail and lego projects happening in the basement. There are never-ending crafts and cushion forts and creative games built of boredom. There is a more consistent family read aloud routine, everyone snuggled in the living room after dark, listening to My Side of the Mountain. I look around at all that we have and my heart nearly disregards its rib cage.

We are doing the days here, kitchen dancing and drawing with chalk and watching Disney, one minute and then the next.
We are safe and healthy, perhaps short of thriving but no one has a fever and we have plenty of food and we are fine.
How are the people in your house, and in your heart?

1 comment:

rht said...

You and your extended family are most of the people in our hearts, and your blog posts and texts and drive by visits make our hearts happy. Thank you.