Family in the time of Corona
Bent over the garden bed, pulling weeds in my pajamas, I waited for a video call from my daughter. I waited there, keeping busy, because she enjoys seeing the flowers and the blue, Montana sky of her old home. She texted, saying she was running late for our prearranged time, not really surprising with a very active three-year-old boy and an almost six-month old girl.
I love these calls. Desi was born on Christmas morning. I scheduled time off work to go see her at the beginning of April. I had waited to book the trip, to let them settle in to their new routine, and to coincide with my anniversary, the first since John passed. I thought getting away and seeing new life would help. When corona virus changed those plans, I was devastated.
So I waited for the call.
Waiting, sipping coffee, I noticed a car coming up the road. I thought it was one I’d seen before at the neighbor’s so I just bent back down to pull a weed. The car pulled in the drive. Crap! It must be one of John’s buddies, Dave, who I repeatedly tell to call before coming, but he ignores. My heart starts racing and I begin a panic attack. I came out the front door, not the garden door, which is still locked from last night. I am trapped!
Trying to devise a plan of escape to cover up, my hyperventilation is getting the best of me when I hear, “Mom!” I freeze. Am I dreaming? “Mom!!” The sound comes again. I turn to see my daughter hopping out of her new car. It’s a good thing she rushed to me; I nearly collapsed.
Hugs and happiness were exchanged, despite my disheveled state. I got to hold my youngest granddaughter for the first time! There are no words for that kind of joy.
They could only stay a few days. I sat on the floor and played with my grandson. We went outside in the rain Arlo loves so much. I held and memorized Desi’s face, whispered secrets to her about the love and connection she and I share as she slept in my arms. Those days were some of the happiest I have had since John passed away last August. Those days were one of the best surprise birthday presents ever!
What does any of this have to do with writing?
There are always going to be things that take us away from our writing. This birthday surprise shifted my priorities far away from writing for a week, and rightly so. Honestly, I didn’t even think about writing.
Except for no pen to paper, no fingers to keyboard, I did what all writers do. I soaked up every second, filing away the sights of my family united at home again, the smells of a freshly washed baby, the taste of my daughter’s street tacos, the feel of a little person’s hand in mine, the sound of a child’s laugh and a baby’s coo. A drank them in like sweet wine and savored every second. Each moment became locked in my memory. Now, it spills out onto the page.
And that it what happens to writers. Sometimes, events are so important and vivid, that we have to stop writing to soak it in. Later, we can write about it, a way of remembering, a way of telling, a way of reliving it.
I hope, dear writer, that in these difficult times, you have some of these beautiful moments, too. Write about them, won’t you?
Happy writing… ~T
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