Over the course of more than six years, the family has made incremental adjustments to sharing a house together, the routines changing as the needs of growing boys, retirement, health, and job requirements dictate. I just reread that sentence which makes the transition sound smooth. It was and is not. Think of an old piece of furniture which creaks and cracks and requires constant attention.
Recently the COVID pandemic forced more modifications as new activities were adopted to deal with the pandemic lifestyle. These activities included my setting up a primitive recording studio in the study, joining the functions of office, sewing room, and school supply storage.
Alas the record-breaking heat of Arizona and YD’s need for help in a move sent Mike and me scurrying to Chicago. The beautiful weather and excellent accommodations enticed me to lengthen my stay from two weeks to almost three months. I returned home only to attend my niece’s wedding.
Out of my sight and provoked by the pandemic, the family in Arizona had manipulated their routines to accommodate working from home and virtual schooling with space adjusted to allow ED to work while keeping Mowgli in range of his mother’s encouragement. Upon my return I found myself spending hours in the bedroom to allow the family minimal disruption. Although the weather had cooled somewhat, it was still uncomfortable to work outside in the middle of the day.
“Fluid” is a term that has been used frequently when discussing the pandemic situation. What you hear one day may not be applicable the next. This can be confusing as, for example, many people didn’t understand why masks weren’t recommended initially then were. Returning to work, school, church, or social events demands attention to the fluidity of the pandemic, sluicing us in frustration as people struggle to understand the latest research and recommendations. (“Sluicing” is another fun word.) The flexibility that stretches us comfortably in normal times may feel as if it is twisting us painfully during fluid situations. Trying to plan events during this pandemic reminds me of gel-filled exercise balls or filled water balloons which change shape with every movement and pressure and can easily slip out of control.
So we twist and turn, bend and stretch, and above all, as my friend Diane says, hug our kids.