The ‘quarantimes’ category

So Much Has Changed. Nothing Has.

October 27th, 2022

I overhear my daughters chatting by the woodstove on a Sunday morning, while we are home eating pancakes and lazing about in our pajamas.

“You know, heaven. It’s the place where everything is perfect.”

I interject. “What did you say?”

Self-consciously, one of them turns to me, “What IS heaven?”

I hate these kinds of questions because I have to answer them very carefully, sharing my particular beliefs without putting anyone else’s down. 

“Some people believe that heaven is a place you go after you die. It’s a place where everything is exactly the way you want it.”

“Do YOU believe that?”

“No. I believe that when you die, you die.”

“Is it sort of like sleeping, but with no dreams?”

I smile, “Yes, that’s a great way of putting it.”

“Does everyone die?”

“Yes, it’s the one thing we all have in common. We all die eventually.”

“What if I go to heaven when I die?”

“Then I was wrong.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

My daughters love to prove me wrong, and I hope they do. Although, the times in my life I’ve tried to imagine what heaven would be like, all I could come up with was, it must be like being on xanax all the time, and you never have to pee. Probably not what the founders of Christianity had in mind. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

I am decidedly not in heaven this week. We finally, two-and-a-half years into the covid pandemic, have a case of COVID in my family. My daughters’ second-grade class is thick with it, so I was not remotely surprised when one of them tested positive. I was waiting for it. In fact, I have to say, my initial reaction, after so many months and years of constant tests, was a mixture of relief and delight. 

“You get the prize!” I said to Eliza. “The first in our family to get covid!” She looked unsure, a dubious honor indeed. But Phoebe was outraged. “Do I get a prize?” she demanded. This is twins, in a nutshell.

Maybe she will get the prize for being the last person in our family to test positive after Jon and I inevitably do. We have not even bothered to try to keep ourselves buffered against Eliza’s germs because it seems rather hopeless. I watch her open the freezer door, lick the ice cube tray, then stick it back in. I watch her smear snot from her nose across her entire face and hair, then grab my phone. I watch her take the food she doesn’t want on her dinner plate, which I dared serve her, and with her fingers, toss it back into the communal bowl. What the hell would a mask do in this house?

As for isolating her, that’s just not something I feel comfortable doing to my particular seven-year-old. I always knew that once someone in my family got COVID, we would all be resigned to getting it.

This morning at 4:30, as I slept in Phoebe’s bed, Eliza woke up and crawled in with me, snuggling up with her warm little body, and breathed in my face. I got nice and cozy as I inhaled the so-far-silent virus germ by germ.

This is a photograph I took two-and-a-half years ago, at the very beginning of the pandemic, of Eliza walking in a field in Guilford. We were isolated, shut down, quarantined, anxious, somber. We were wild and free, lucky to be living among so much underpopulated open space here in Vermont.


And here is Eliza two days ago, infected with covid, still living her wild and free life in the woods. 


So much has changed. Nothing has. 

Share Button

No Comments »