Brain complexity fascinates me. I like how different senses trigger different memories. For example, whenever I eat cinnamon rolls, I think of my Grandpa Archie, the first person I ever saw make cinnamon rolls from scratch — and he was blind, so he did it all by feel and from memory. When I listen to Hampton String Quartet, I’m transported back to the table, strewn with flash cards, textbooks, and notebooks, where I spent hours studying for calculus finals in the basement apartment we lived in my sophomore year in college.
I don’t want to minimize the challenges of staying home — those remain. But, looking on the bright side, I’ve been able to take advantage of the occasional nice weather by working outside a bit. It lets me keep Benji company while getting a little bit of work done.
I also took advantage of the sunny, breezy weather and being home all day to hang our sheets out to dry in the back yard. I love the sunshiny smell and feel of sheets hung to dry.
Back in May, Ian and I made the difficult decision to not send Benji to in-person YMCA camp this summer. At the time, COVID cases were slowly but steadily trending downward and things looked better all the time. Even so, we opted for safety (in retrospect, a very good idea) and signed up for the YMCA’s new “Camp in a Box” day camp option.
Now, for six weeks starting this week, the YMCA provides us with a box of supplies and activity instructions. Twice a day Monday through Friday, Benji participates in a Zoom call with camp counselors, who play games and do activities pertaining to the week’s theme. The rest of the day he can choose what activities from the box he wants to complete. Most require little adult intervention after he gets started. There are usually two main activities per day: One thematic activity, like making a superhero cape; the other just fun and interesting, like making a straw rocket.
Many things have changed since COVID-19 became a reality in our lives. One is church: How we do church, who participates, and what it looks like. Over the weeks our church has slowly evolved to a Zoom-based format. This week we took communion for the first time since Stay Home, Stay Healthy started.
For me, the few minutes we spent hearing those familiar words — this is My body, broken for you… — and taking the elements brought me closer to a sense of community than I’ve had in months. I thought about all the Christians all over the world still doing this in all their different ways, and all the Christians over time who have done this in innumerable different circumstances, and for a moment I saw us as a tiny part of a huge group joined by bonds deeper than just physical proximity. And I felt, in that moment, that we were together, more than just our church, but all people who love and follow Christ. It blessed me.
This is going to sound a little crazy, but up until now, the pandemic hasn’t forced many difficult decisions in our life. Yes, we’ve faced inconvenience — not seeing coworkers in person, having to figure out what to do with Benji while we try to work all day — but by and large we’ve not had to optimize between, for example, earning a paycheck and staying home. I continually remain thankful for the fact that we can “just” shift gears to follow the state and county health guidances without impossible choices.
I find working from home challenging at times when Benji comes in needing intervention: he’s hungry, the computer isn’t working, he’s bored. The “I’m hungry” whine in particular seemed to come constantly, and it felt like I was always having to get up and make a snack or lunch for someone.
When all this first started, so long ago, I happily quit making sack lunches. I never liked packing lunch even for myself, and definitely not for Benji, who pretty much daily complained about whatever I put in there — even if he asked for the food himself.
After our orange paint excitement on Saturday, one of us discovered paint in our hair. Apparently someone brushed his head against the wall that had wet orange paint on it, giving adding unintentional orange highlights.
Being a capable, independent 7 1/2-year-old, someone solved the problem himself: he started to cut his own hair. While I like the initiative, we moved quickly to head off (pun intended) the problem by obtaining a real hair cutting kit.
Last night Ian administered Benji’s first at-home haircut. At first Benji wanted to set the buzzer to one meter, rather than a few millimeters. Then we measured my hair and determined my long hair is 55 cm, or barely over half a meter, and he decided he actually wanted it to be an inch.