Quarantimes Week 15: The Slow Life

June 23rd, 2020

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We have taken to doing socially distant dates with other kids about once a week. Last week we met our friend C. and her daughter S. for a short hike around Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC). This is a beautiful property not far from our house with what I long assumed was a “closed loop” of trails.

That assumption was proven wrong when we got desperately lost with three hungry kids in tow. (The kids being me, Eliza, and Phoebe, if I’m being honest….

….C., being intelligent, brought snacks for herself and her daughter, then graciously shared them with me, a person who apparently doesn’t get basic parenting 101.)

After we got home and decompressed for awhile (that’s a euphemism for watching insipid cartoons on the iPad in the middle of a sunny afternoon in bed), Eliza asked me if I would play trains with her. “I wish I could,” I said, “but I have to go to work now.”

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Unpleased, she responded, “You never play with me.” 

Arrow to the heart. 

I texted a mom friend I often rely upon for her deep experience with kids like mine: “I guess the epic two-hour adventure I took them on, where I had to carry them up and down hill and dale while faint from hunger and thirst, wondering if I should call 911, didn’t count?”

She replied with her usual concise “Nope.”

When the fun parent got home, he engaged in his usual skill of just hanging around the house and yard with them, which they adore. 

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Despite multiple tick checks, a shower, a bath, and actual Off bug spray that day, we found a tick latched on to Eliza the next evening.

Just as a recap of Eliza’s summer so far:

  • 2 black eyes from black fly bites

  • A massively swollen ear from the same

  • A spot of poison ivy on her leg

  • Countless mosquito and other such bites

  • A near-necrotic spider bite on her back

  • The ER for a cut finger (wagon incident)

  • A toe split open on garden rocks three times in one week 
  • A splinter she got while basically sitting still on her bedroom floor which gushed blood
  • Terrible allergies every single night for weeks and weeks

  • And weekly venom therapy shots

Jon and I are at the point where either time one of us calls the other we answer “What now?!” I can’t believe that technically, summer just started this past weekend.

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On the other hand, summer is my favorite season by far, and I never want it to be over. Being able to get in my garden after dinner is priceless. Watching the sun set after my kids fall asleep is also so valuable, as is the silence that affords me the ability to hear the owls, woodpeckers, and not-so-far-off coyotes.  

Some other things I have loved about this time:

  1. Never having to rush in the morning, and in fact, sitting on the front step sipping coffee while my kids watch cartoons every single morning for at least an hour — there, I said it. Sometimes we don’t get dressed until the tens or elevens.

  2. Witnessing my daughters’ evolving make-believe games with their wooden hand-me-down trains from the 70s. This morning I helped cut doors into paper boxes for the train stations. Forget about the actual wooden train station that’s been sitting out in the living room for a week.

  3. Being around all the time for deep philosophical questions from the mind of a 5-year-old: “What would happen if the earth disappeared?” 

I won’t say that the quarantimes have made me appreciate the slow life more. I think I always really appreciated it. But I am very grateful that an appreciation for the slow life and the great outdoors has made this time less harrowing than it might have been for my family. 

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

What I’m reading: 

Worried About Your Kids’ Social Skills Post-Lockdown? In the New York Times 

What I’m listening to: 

The VPR (Vermont Public Radio) app

What I’m watching:

Real live tadpoles growing into frogs in a kiddie pool in our yard. Better than any TV. 

What I’m eating: 

Spinach and butterhead lettuce from our garden

Spinach and butterhead lettuce from our garden

What I’m working on:

I also just signed on with two new startups I’m really excited about. The first, SaverLife, is a nonprofit that’s created a great platform for helping people save money and change their financial futures. The second, Randori, has a novel cybersecurity product. I love new tech clients because I learn so much from them. 

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One Response to “Quarantimes Week 15: The Slow Life”

  1. Wonderful writing, once again, emotionally available, playful, deep, real. It is such a pleasure to share these moments of your lives.

    Poor Eliza! I had wicked (there, I said it. I AM from Massachusetts) allergies all through my childhood, which seemed to go away as I got to high school and then moved out of state. So maybe Eliza will be lucky that way.

    I also treasure my memories of Devon’s early philosophical questions. My favorites were her naming white birches “moon trees” and asking me, after seeing Thumbelina, “When will I get my wings?” and “Does your heart have a face?”

    Thanks so much for sharing!


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