Family Moab

Family Moab
In Arches National Park

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Rare Peace and Quiet

I am alone in the house for the first time in three-and-a-half months. The quiet surrounds me and brings my heart rate down; I feel like laughing. When I called my mom we had forty minutes of uninterrupted time, no shouts for car keys, demands for food, or random cries of "Mom, Mom!" interrupting the rhythm of our discussion. With Aden and William at work, and Rob and Daniel driving through the Chicago suburbs, my home is my kingdom once again. It brings back dusty memories of routines circa February, 2020.

Thinking seems doable again in the silence, poems might even be possible. My hat is off to all parents working in a full house and producing actual intellectual output; I have been busy and checked many items off to-do lists but I have not spent much time in deep thought. There isn't much point in "going deep" if you're going to get yanked back to the surface with the barbed hook of adolescent needs. Having my family close has been a gift of enormous magnitude, but I have paid the price in functioning brain cells.

The quiet costs more than a little worry, however, as Rob and Daniel traverse several states in the old black Acura. Rob has to pack up his corporate apartment in Chicago as his company will terminate its lease. Rob wanted to make the trip in person rather than have a friend pack up and ship his belongings. I think he's hoping for a socially distanced meeting tomorrow so that he can see co-workers for the first time since early March. Then the boys hope to travel on to Ohio to see Bill and Connie.

Our travelers stopped over in Omaha, Nebraska last night. Rob said the hotel in Omaha was virtually empty, as were the city streets outside the College World Series baseball stadium. We were all supposed to be in Omaha last week for the USA Swimming Olympic Trials, so their stopover was bittersweet. Instead of watching the first four days of hopes and dreams realized with fast swimming, loud music and fireworks, I received a picture that Daniel took for me, a big road sign reading "US Olympic Trials Postponed until 2021."  We can only hope.

My dynamic duo are using copious amounts of hand sanitizer and avoiding elevators and indoor spaces whenever possible. That's one big worry: to protect themselves. The other issue is protecting the ones they visit, particularly Rob's parents. When Rob and Daniel left home they had runny noses, and though the symptom is likely due to allergies, I told Rob to monitor the situation closely. The boys are supposed to spend the Fourth with Rob's parents, but under no circumstances will they bring a bug with them.

Such strange times we live in when we struggle to see co-workers and loved ones, weigh the need against the risk. I'm conducting the same inner debate over whether or not to go to Montana to see my mom, weighing the desire to be with her against the risk that doing so might bring trouble in her direction. As the inner debate rages I will take a few moments to appreciate the rare quiet, say a few prayers for the safety of my travelers and offer up a request that we might all feel some peace in our rare quiet, private moments.

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