On a Saturday not long ago, we had no plans, and no place to go, as is mostly the case during our pandemic life.
My petite Lark was bored and complaining that she had nothing to do, although she owns all the toys and art supplies in the universe.
I suggested that we all grab a book and have a “family reading session” in the living room for half an hour. Admittedly, I expected her to scoff at this suggestion as she had the other 1,000 ideas I’d offered up, but she agreed.
For 30, blissful, quiet minutes, we sat together but apart, each person reading a book of our own choosing.
I’m sure you know one of those families that are so outdoorsy and stoic that it’s irritating. They’re always headed off on epic cycling trips or month-long paddling excursions. They don’t have any wimpy kids in their brood, who constantly whine, “My legs are tired. Are we almost there?”
No. Their kids completed their first triathlon at the age of 6 and can easily carry a 20-lb pack as they scale mountains.
I aspire for us to be one of those families. And I’m ready to irritate you with tales of our stoicism.
For the first time in an age, I’m alone in a house filled with silence. Well, almost alone. My husband is “at work” upstairs. Employing quotes implies that he isn’t actually working. He is.
I cannot hear My Little Pony playing on the TV downstairs. I cannot hear my son humming repetitively under his breath while he concentrates on something. I cannot hear the sound of my daughter’s foghorn flute voice asking me for a cup of water/a snack/a show/another snack/help/a sweater/clean socks/a cookie/screentime/playtime.
Today I celebrate my son’s 12th year on the Earth.
Somehow, inexplicably, twelve years have flown and crawled and staggered past us. Ten years have gone since his cancer diagnosis, and time has rubbed away some of the horror of that wound, for all of us.
2020 has, and let’s not sugar-coat it, been a bit of a shit year all ’round, am I right? All of our lovely plans have gone up in smoke, the global pandemic rages on, and the uncertainty of what the future holds has us staring at the ceiling at night, and anxiously checking our news-feeds over and over.
I haven’t been immune to it. Fear has definitely got its sharp hooks into me too.
But I’ve been here before. 2010 was the worst year of my life. I stood on the brink of losing my only child oh-so-many times. Every day was a different kind of struggle. I was happy too, though, because I still had him. The highs were high and the lows were very low.