I’m sitting out on my deck as I write, dry and warmly wrapped in a blanket as the rain falls around me. Today even the weather is telling us to stay home. I started a new job three weeks ago, and have yet to see my new workplace. For now, my office is a table in the corner of my bedroom. The kids are at the end of would have been a two-week school break for the kids, only now there’s no talk of going back.
Nothing is how we expected it to be. Instead, inside my small little world they are calm, peaceful, maybe even happy? I have described the last two weeks like Christmas holidays without the stress and pressure. Or maybe time at the cabin or in the bush except at home. A jigsaw puzzle has taken over the living room and we all float in and out of the room in our time, focusing to find a few pieces before leaving again. We talk, we laugh, we sit in silence. The kids went for a hike together. Sometimes together. Sometimes apart. There’s often someone in the kitchen cooking or baking. We eat when we’re hungry and go to bed when we’re tired. The teens sleep the mornings away. Time barely matters.
I try to order food from local restaurants and to keep paying for the activities and things we are not doing, because I can afford to, for now. I recognize that this might change any day.
We all connect with folks on the outside. I joke about the kids over for another (virtual) play date. “Hi Meredith and Naomi, you girls are here again? Don’t you ever get tired of us?” My youngest laughs and brings her friends upstairs. My son yells and laughs as he plays video games with far away friends. My middle girl texts and texts, checking in making sure all her friends are OK. (When unsure, physical distancing made way for an emergency check in and then home again.)
My oldest is also home, her university classes now online and her trip to Rome cancelled. She was worried about not having a job, not being able to pay her rent. “It’s OK,” I said. “We’ll figure it out.” Now she is talking about getting a job as a Care Aid at the local hospital looking after those with Corona virus. We talk about what it might mean, about accepting the risk of maybe getting sick, maybe us all getting sick. “It’s OK,” we say. “If it happens, we’ll figure it out.” In an emergency we all need to do what we can an it’s her part.
Yesterday, we went to the craft store to buy beading supplies for my oldest. “Mom,” she said, “We were looking at the old photo albums and saw the baby mural you painted. Remember when you used to do crafts?” And yes, there were some faint memories of a different time when I painted and sewed and knitted. “Oh yeah,” I said. “Maybe I’ll get some yarn and knit something.” She looked at me, “You know how to knit?” I looked at her are realized that I hadn’t knit in over 20 years. “Well, I used to…” I said. So we bought the beads and the knitting supplies and came home.
[Two kids burst on to the deck as I write. One comments on the rain and does a little dance. The other one hands me a bit of waffle to tasted saying they had to improvise as we had no baking powder, vanilla or sugar. (They actually tasted OK.) The smell of bacon wafts out onto the deck telling me it is breakfast time or maybe lunch.]
So today I will knit, because I have time to knit. I have time because time barely matters. There is nowhere to be except here. Now. Calmly, quietly. Appreciating and noticing. It doesn’t feel like the hardship, but instead a precious gift.