The quarantine here is being lifted, phase by phase. This week we can go fishing, hunting, and golfing. And guess who feels bad about not going, fishing, hunting, and golfing this week? That’s right. Me.
The other day during read aloud, the word “hermit” came up. The boys wanted to know what a hermit was. I had no problem describing one.
I’m not ready. I know I’m supposed to miss things more than I miss them. I’m supposed to miss GNO’s and soccer games, date nights and vacations, restaurants and nail salons…but I don’t. Even things I really love, like having people over for dinner and going to family gatherings—I don’t miss them like I’m supposed to.
Sometimes I can’t even bring myself to tune into a Zoom meeting with friends because the boys and I are playing our 100th game of Monopoly Deal for the day (which, by the way, is 100 times better than actual Monopoly), or we’re yelling at each other and setting things on fire in Overcooked, or we’re watching Teen Titans Go together and it’s a really good episode. I’d rather keep doing that, even though it’s the exact same thing we were doing the day before…and the day before that…and the day before that…
I’m supposed to be tired of cooking, but I’m not. In fact, I’m finally doing the right amount of cooking. Apple pastry for breakfast, baked potatoes with creamed eggs for lunch, Pad Thai for dinner and Boston cream pie for dessert. Somewhere during the day I’ll also toss in a loaf of bread for the week and maybe some crackers made from our sourdough discard. This spring, we have eaten exactly zero dinners out of mason jars, squeezed between two soccer fields in the rain. Zero!
With the quarantine starting to phase out, I’m catching glimpses of the gigantic to-do list on the other side. It’s not like we’re going to say, “We really learned something there. Let’s keep life simple from now on.” Nope. It will all come back: the overladen schedule, birthday parties, sports, dividing and conquering, evenings too busy to play a game together, weekends gone to birthday parties, family obligations, church, date nights, girls’ nights, sleepovers, and soccer games. The expectation that I should have spent xx hours a day writing and I should have xx pages to show for it. (During quarantine, if I get any writing done it’s a, “Yay! Bonus!” kind of feel.) School dances, science fairs, orthodontist and dentist and doctor appointments. Bagged lunches, rushed mornings. Therapy appointments, PT, and root canals. That’s what waits me on the other side.
The thing is, except for the doctor appointments and root canal, I love all the stuff in that paragraph. I signed up for it all! But now that I’ve seen how life can be without all that, it’s going to be hard to go back.
We spent a whole day this week defending baby robins from a murder of crows. We go for family walks around the neighborhood now, stopping to chat with other families who, it turns out, have been living right next to us all this time. The boys make up games in the backyard and come in laughing about how Vincenzo won because he got the Golden Sneek.
When I was a kid sometimes the power would go out, and no matter how long it was out, I was never ready when the lights came back on. I love the feeling of having to “make do.”* It fulfills that part of me that always wanted to be a pioneer woman, raising my family in the middle of nowhere, filling the days with good, hard work that, in turn, would fill me up a sense of purpose.
So can we all just agree to do less of the other stuff and more of this for a little while longer? As in, like, forever?
Because this page from my mood chart is my new favorite.
Only I don’t think they got it right. Let me make a little adjustment…
(And all these years I thought I was an extrovert.)
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Potato leek frittata
Roasted cauliflower with parmesan
Brownies and ice cream
*I do understand that there are limits to this. All the times I’ve had to “make do” my well-being has never at stake, and I know not everyone has that same luxury during quarantine.