Friday, February 25, 2022

Snow Day

Local schools were closed today because of snow.  Not so much snow as to make life impossible, but enough that it was difficult for the school buses to run and unlikely that all the kids would be delivered safely and on time.  

We have been watching the baby full time for a bit over a month; 8:45 to 5:30, Monday through Friday.  When I saw the announcement about the schools, I teased my husband by saying that most day care centers were also closed, so why weren’t we?   He is a jokester, but not generally a tease, but without saying anything to me, he called his daughter and told her that our daycare should be closed today, a snow day, because the schools were closed.    I do not know what she said to him, but what I thought was going to be a joke turned sour and then he rather stiffly responded that yes, we would be willing to take the baby for a few hours in the afternoon, from noon to four.   It seemed apparent that, whatever was said, they had hurt each other’s feelings.  By the time they hung up, he had made a comment about ‘not living in the real world,’ and responsibility to have a back up plan.

The little guy was dropped off without the usual visit or banter at noon.  He is adorable, and always so happy and excited to see us.  He is getting busier every day;  crawling and standing and climbing and touching everything he can reach; extremely active but still too clumsy to trust without constant attention lest he get hurt.  He and I are the best of pals and we had a lovely day; a lovely lunch, a lovely book and cuddle, several diapers, a lovely time of endless exploration, and a lovely too-short nap.  When his mother came to pick him up at 4:30, she and her dad had a tense conversation and I took the baby into another area to amuse him while they talked.  She told him that perhaps she and the child’s father would just put the baby in paid day care, full time.  My husband told her that he did not like the idea, with the pandemic still going strong, but that it was, of course, their decision.  She has not yet investigated or priced that option and I will be curious to see whether she does and what she learns. 

All I really know is that we did miss our little grand when he was not here this morning, but also that we were grateful for an extra cup of coffee and time to do a chore or two, and that we were exhausted again when he left, even on this shortened day.  We sat this evening by the fire, with no energy to talk or plan or do much of anything, as we have done each evening for the past few weeks.  We are grateful these days, for the first time in years, when finally it is Friday.  Saturday is our only real day off, and it will be spent on laundry and shopping and errands and chores; Sunday is Dominoes Day when I will need to clean and cook for our company.  We are feeling our ages, and taking a regular dose of ibuprofen.   We love our littlest grandbaby; we give him all the energy we have during the day, and he and we are happy to be together.  There is no crying at Grandma’s house, but it takes a fair amount of work for that to be true, especially since our house is not built for babies, with hard floors and many steps.    It is hard enough when there are two of us here, but it is often the case - with doctor appointments and other individual obligations — that only one of us is with the baby.   And it takes a toll on our old bodies.  Part of that toll is physical, because our day is spent in constant following and lifting and cleaning and entertaining.  But part of it, too, is caused by the feeling that the effort we give is easy, expected and somehow owed.  And perhaps we are just needy because, while surely what we do must be appreciated, it sometimes feels like it is not appreciated quite enough.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year, Please.

We celebrated Christmas and kissed 2021 goodbye by having a lovely dinner of Indian carryout and chocolate fondue with my son, daughter in law and the two older grands.  I love our fondue tradition, I love those people!,  but it is clear that things are on the verge of change again.  It took a "grown up" to suggest that we open gifts, and we totally forgot to do the Christmas Crackers before Ray left early to go to a party with friends.  The grands aren't babies anymore and so they naturally will continue to be pulled away by friends and circumstances as they find their own lives, just as they should.   It is possible that the fondue tradition will continue for a few more years before its next pause.  It is even possible that it will circle around again, as it did when  my son left home and created his own life and his own family.   But whether it continues any distance into the future isn't within my control, and that's okay.   I have gotten so much more value out of a tradition that started with a cheap chocolate bar and a little bit of fruit than I ever would have imagined.  More evidence that the seeds we plant, often by accident, sometimes take on a life of their own.

Jack and I were talking this morning about what we would like to accomplish in 2022.  I told him I was formulating a "Hope List," which he mis-heard as Hopeless.   At this point, of course, we have a blank slate so it could go either way, I guess.  What we really wanted to talk about was travel, but it is so hard right now to imagine what kind of travel options we will have in 2022; day trips only?  Visits to other states?  A tour of another country?  We just don't know.  So  the conversation quickly turned into a ToDo list for things that need doing around the house.  That led, naturally, to talk of the Covid-19 progression and then to the realization that a virus and a corporation seem to have many of the same goals -- to grow and prosper, even at the expense of others, but not completely destroy the host.  Since my Hope List had by this point gone further toward Hopeless than either of us wanted, we thought it best to stop there and revisit 2022 goals sometime later.

We know for sure that some practical considerations are on the list.  The house needs to be repainted or sided, if we can find available workers this year who are competent to do the job.  Last year local businesses complained that their usual workers were not available much of the time.  We had our crumbling porch repaired last year because it simply had to be done but, although it is pretty, the workmen did not do a competent job; the center of the porch is uneven and gathers water when it rains or snows, and the porch is unlikely to last as long as it should.   Not surprisingly, talk about house repairs led to talk about how long we should expect to continue to live in a house that is many times too large for us, and where we will move when it all becomes just too much.  Which led to a brief conversation into the political situation and the weather concerns and the connection of both to climate change.  We quickly walked away from that conversation and into our respective sewing rooms, where we found it nearly overwhelming to just tackle our own post-Holiday mess, much less the mess of the world.  I set my timer of 15 minutes and managed to clear out one small box before I came back to my laptop to rest up before returning to another 15 minutes of productivity.  I am hoping to regained some sort of order before next week, when I will take down the Christmas decorations and need to create some pretense of order out of that.

Still, I have no serious complaints.  If things have been better at other times in my life, they have most certainly also been worse.  Most of Jack's kids are out of work, but they are healthy.  The baby is thriving.  My son and his family are coping and, even if the pandemic has caused some havoc with their school and work lives, and even if the kids' high school experience is not what any of us expected, and even if everyone's future seems somehow unsettled, they are all healthy.  Jack and I are cozy and very well fed and happy to be together, at least most of the time.   There are times when we crave company, and times when we think we would be fine if we never saw another person.  So all in all, we are content.  If we can have another year with no larger problems, I dare not be disappointed.   To paraphrase the Leonard Cohen lyrics,  although the pretty woman in her darkened door might cry out to me, "why not ask for more," I am more akin the the beggar leaning on his wooden crutch who says "don't ask for so much."   I hope to embrace every bit of goodness that comes my way.  

Whatever you hope for, I hope you get it.  Happy New Year.