lucky to stay

~originally published April 2020


You know, these end of the year days contain surprising blessings. Oh, it's not at all fun, but it's peaceful in its way. We play games at night, then I'm usually in bed by 9. I like it. Maggie is painting. Will is delightful at dinner. All this togetherness is a challenge on some days--but not as many as I imagined at the first prospect of these days.

I listen to church songs. Listen to the rosary on YouTube while I begin my first hour of teaching every morning. We are okay. Better than I thought we'd be. We've never encountered this before so how was I to know?

I barely go anywhere but Schnucks. I go on walks, twice a day. Got to teach Mags to drive. All these empty parking lots to seem to be a good enough excuse.

I'm excited to see our Hydroponics experiment. It looks like it's going to thrive and I can't wait. These are small things. The world is small, but better. Somehow it is better. Teaming with life, Goodwill and creativity.

But to be honest, maybe it isn't. My world is closed to me. I pitter. I putter. I laugh and clap at myself when I clean out the refrigerator. The bottom of the to do list brings a bone deep contentment to me. I am comfortable with the sound of my own thoughts.

Sometimes I get mad. I shout. I react. But a picnic helps lift my face to the sun. The game after dinner settles us all. "1-2-3-4, now it's your turn." The sweet dessert drop off from a friend, a smiling familiar face I could hardly bear to let go.

It's strange to think when we left for spring break it was good bye. The name tags. I remember us all being so focused on the cursive name tags. Who had theirs already. Who was going to get them after spring break. How could we have known we wouldn't come back? Gosh, life is fragile. I hope I remember that. We will be like those depression-era people--always remembering the ways the world can tilt sideways and change everything we thought we knew. We will measure and conserve as well. But not flour, sugar, and yeast.

We are okay. We really are. But for the rest of my life I will measure time together. I will stockpile how lucky we were to hug people, how lucky we were to linger. How lucky we were to stay.

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