TV pundits assure us that every hardship–even a pandemic–has a silver lining. Eventually.
For now at least, our household has settled in for the long haul because of the coronavirus.
I know it’s deadly, but every time they show another graphic of it, all I can see are the squishy toys Maggie loved as a child. Her car seat fussiness ceased if I handed her one of those globby things. She smiled, her tiny hands reaching for the round thing that often had rubber pointy-tips.
I kept a stash of them in neon colors.
Some lighted up.
The ones with glitter delighted her the most.
Once you’ve been a parent dependent on a child’s happiness (OK, silence), you never go back.
When Maggie’s non-profit in Detroit closed its public outreach because of the virus, Cliff brought her home. She now works in her bedroom all day on her computer. I assume they have zoom meetings because I hear voices coming from her room.
Don’t ask me to explain it. I’m old enough to remember switchboards, party lines, my grandparents’ wooden wall phone. Technology’s current bells and whistles mystify me.
In the evenings, the three of us circle together. Restaurant: Impossible is always popular. When plate-smashing and profit and loss discussions wear thin, we try HGTV until we can’t decide between marble and granite countertops either. TV only gets you so far.
So we turn to cards. We’re not a competitive family fortunately. It’s basically a backdrop for conversation and good-natured teasing. I’m the go-to target because historically anything with numbers upends me. At some point if I’m looking a bit woozy, Cliff or Maggie will offer, “But if this game was about punctuation, you’d win every round.”
Last night Cliff suggested Monopoly. Maggie shivered and said it traumatized her as a child. Then she explained the game’s origins as a reflection of America’s capitalistic power structure. I suppose there was something about white male privilege. Gentrification’s evils probably got mentioned, too, not that she’s wrong. She knows this kind of stuff cold–all the result of a liberal arts education.
“Clue? Do we still have that?” I asked, desperately hoping her dedication to Law & Order: SVU might have had its origins in the board game. She expressed doubt that we’d remember how to play it.
I might be old, but I can still read instructions.
Last night on the news, they showed us neighborhoods, instead of germs, and the creative approaches to stay-in-place orders. Households put stuffed animals in windows to entertain other families out for a walk. The search delights children.
Once you’ve been a parent dependent on a child’s happiness…
Because we live on a street where folks frequently stroll by these days, I set one of Maggie’s stuffed animals in our window.
Inside I’ve got my fingers crossed that Colonel Mustard in the dining room with a candlestick will be our silver lining tonight.