Everyone is on edge as we shelter in to avoid COVID-19. It was only a few days ago that the idyllic image of the family protecting itself by erasing the calendars and enjoying uninterrupted activities would have been welcomed. Often we coerce the boys to enjoy family time, building relationships and interests without distractions. With this forced separation in place, it was tempting to imagine our group of five preparing healthy snacks while engaging in playful banter, followed by a stimulating game or entertaining movie.
Years of living in the Midwest where winter storms forced us inside had taught me the reality. Mike has no interest in cooking or bantering, the teenage boys prefer peer interactions even if electronic, ED is busy working online, and for me: a book, a glass of wine, and classical music.
Blessed with living in Arizona, Mike and I declared a trip to the White Tank Mountain Park for a short hike, the wide-open spaces allowing for social distancing. The desert was alive with blooms following spring rains. And the boys were cranky, testing us every step.
At last I administered the equivalent of a nun’s rap on the knuckles: any more grousing and there will be no more electronics of any kind today!
Amazingly it worked. Although there were no smiles, laughter, or utterances of appreciation, there was also no moaning, whining, or surliness.
We returned home with everyone in a slightly better mood. That evening’s dinner was relatively pleasant. The next day I remained in my room most of the day. By evening we were all ready for an on-line game with family in Chicago. Sometimes, separation is healthy.