Pandemic Diaries: A Snippet of Joy
Time is a series of wormholes now, arranged as if an engineer at Six Flags had been giving a blank check and complete freedom to go fully nuts. The structure that guides our days is gone, no matter how old you are, or who you vote for. Without a place to go and a boss or a teacher to keep us accountable, some standards have swiftly made a beeline for the window. My older one’s hair looks as if a young pair of robins decided to settle their nest there. The younger one questions why he still has to brush his teeth. I have worn sweatpants over the last two months with the earnestness of a yoga instructor, but without her inclination for exercise. So structure has vanished and time is out of whack, but what we’re left with is what we’re most familiar with, and often tend to take for granted. Our homes. Our families. Our own imperfect, stressed-out selves.
That is one of the silver linings of this mess. It hits me sometimes that the older one will be off to college in six years. When that thought makes an appearance, I blink twice, slowly, and look over to him. He looks back, suspicious, and I sneak in a hug. Yesterday we all needed something to do pretty desperately, and everyone pitched in to clear some weeds in the jungle-like front yard. Gardening has the advantage of delivering instant gratification, which works great for the ADHD contingent of the family. We all worked hard and felt pretty satisfied after we were done.
It was a much more picture-perfect family scene than earlier in the day, when I found myself yelling at them to seriously-for-real-now-Jesus get off their screens, or during one of the meltdowns that occur periodically for either no apparent reason or too many to count. But at that moment, after we had filled up three giant bags with weeds and we were all happy and content, I looked at my sweaty kids, those two monsters I had been yelling at earlier, and the thought hit me again about time being such a bitch. So I grabbed the hose, and I went for the smallest one first, easy prey, and then the older one and then the husband, who was the definition of flabbergasted. They ran for cover behind the car, but I went after them. They quickly realized that this was actually fun, and came back from behind the car asking for more, laughing hysterically.
I wish I could bottle that moment. I wish I could bottle that feeling. I want yesterday, that moment, to be with me every day.