This is the longest I’ve ever been home with my children. Seriously. I had Zoe in December the weekend after final exams and was teaching in January. I had Zack on a Thursday and was teaching a week later. There have been no long summers together off somewhere.
This Covid situation has created our first long period at home together and it hasn’t gone that badly.
I get through my days by stretching small things into big things, working slowly, and sitting as quietly as possible.
I learned this decades ago reading the Tao Te Ching, verse 37:
The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone.
If powerful men could center themselves in it
the whole world would be transformed by itself,
in its natural rhythms.
When life is simple,
pretenses fall away;
our essential natures shine through.
By not wanting, there is calm,
and the world will straighten itself.
When there is silence,
one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.
One of the big small things that I’ve been doing during this Covid-19 quiet is cleaning out closets and drawers and the garage. I’ve had time to dump boxes out and look at all the big small things I’ve put away here and there for reasons I rarely remember. Archives to nowhere.
Zoe and I were sorting through a big box that was clearly things I’d sent to my Abuelo and Abuela while the kids were little which included a bunch of Zack’s early elementary schoolwork and Zoe’s art.
My mom gave me this box to take home when she was cleaning Abuelo’s stuff and I put it away a few years ago, unable to face the grief.
There is a bittersweet edge to have these treasures sent back, to have them now and to not have Abuelo and Abuela, but we don’t discuss it.
None of that sadness is with us today as Zoe and I go through our treasure trove. We giggle over Zack’s cynical book reviews from first grade and coo at school pictures we had forgotten about.
Then we come across a picture that was clearly drawn by Zoe which had the bold title of HOSE DAY. The setting is our old house, the one from 10 years ago, and the characters are myself (clearly in some waist training torture device and having an odd hair day), Zoe and Zack.
|Hose Day -- 2007?|
We are all visibly upset about something that has gone wrong involving a hose and perhaps a window.
Zoe and I cannot remember this day.
She says that the picture definitely captures a sense of loss and disappointment and is worth keeping.
I put the picture on the fridge and ask Zack about it.
He has no idea what happened.
Life is like this; we remember the stories we repeat, and other ones slip away to make room for new ones. Whatever happened on Hose Day was worthy of a picture but not a mention since. Maybe the hose broke?
Maybe the kids got worried about bees (they used to do that, there was no calming them)?
Maybe the hose just didn’t work and whatever games they’d planned never happened?
We will never remember what was done or left undone hose day, but here we are, giggling at the dramatic picture on the fridge and the gift of being together here and now in this calm, leaving nothing undone.