Juggling Normal Q&A: Quarantine Kid Stories!
Last night at the dinner table, my 6-year-old (known here as “E”) asked me, very seriously, if her grandpa and grandma in Montana have enough to eat. I assured her they did and then she asked about her cousins. Again, I assured her they did. In fact, I said, they are lucky – they have enough beef to last them for a very long time. Then I cried at the dinner table.
I realized maybe we had been talking about current events a tad too much at dinner. With both of us working and also managing our two kids, my husband and I rarely get to talk to each other, and when we do, it is mostly about politics and policy. In a former life, I did agriculture policy in Washington, DC, and I grew up on a working cattle ranch in Montana, thus I have been glued to news about the ag sector the past few weeks. I followed the Smithfield situation extremely closely, then JBS, then Tyson, and have been talking about the nation’s food supply for weeks. Last night, I realized my baby girl was worried about people not having enough to eat. So, we came up with a plan. This week, even though we do a yearly contribution to our local food bank, we will deliver food. She wants fresh fruit, so that is what we will do. And I am so very proud of her.
Now, for the lighter side of things. E’s extremely sweet kindergarten teacher posted an outdoor spring scavenger hunt for the class – things like the sun, buds, dandelions, birds, bugs. It was just an exercise to see what they could find and see outside, not necessarily collect. E, staying true to form, went next level. We collected a dead bumblebee, a ginormous beetle we had accidentally cooked on the fire pit, and the coup de grace, a dead nuthatch which our cats got. E was so proud. This morning she shared with her class and our sweet teacher’s face will have me in hysterics all week.
My other favorite kid quarantine story is not really a story at all, but rather a development. My husband has been 50% furloughed from his job and like all other families out there, we are now home full time with our kids. He spends most of the morning with our 3-year-old (H) and their relationship has grown so strong over the past 7 weeks. I absolutely love it. My daughter and I were able to go on a horseback ride last Thursday, just the two of us, on a day we would both normally be at school. This morning, we all went to the barn where we board our horses and picked up our horse trailer so we can take yard waste to the compost area. While there, we gave our horses treats and saw the new baby kittens. These are the little things and simple experiences that make this a really beautiful time in our lives.
So many stories. I’ve written about many of them already in my blog posts over the last however many weeks. COVID Summer. Angry Kids. All the Masks. May Baskets. Life Happens. We’ve had our ups and downs during this crazy time, but my favorite things are the memories of my kids playing together. Learning new things (like sewing). Craft projects (May Day flowers). Dyeing Easter Eggs just like we always do. Having Easter dinner and getting dressed up for it – including the fancy tablecloth and using our good china – and FaceTime on the iPad at the table instead of having our loved ones with us in person.
It’s not one story or another, but more remembering how they laugh when one of them is being silly. My son is 8, and he is a typical eight-year old boy. He is the chief of bodily function noises – and the girls think it’s hilarious. Our youngest is 5, and she totally plays it up when she does something funny and gets a laugh – and then she repeats it another hundred times. And our oldest tries to be the tough not-caring teenager, but she has fun playing with her siblings – tickling them or playing a game or just hanging out watching a movie together and snuggling on the couch.
I hope my kids remember that this time was definitely not normal, but that they still had fun together. Being at home – having our whole house (with their own rooms to retreat to when they need it) and big yard to hang out in – is not that bad. I hope my kids remember the water gun fights and that time they sprayed me in the eye and I got mad. I hope they remember sprinklers and slip and slides being an ok replacement for fun at the pool with friends. It’s not the same. But it’s also not that bad either.