"Animal Crossing is as important to me as my actual future. I want you to know that," my daughter, Alice, brazenly utters to me on our 51st day of being home together during quarantine. 51 days we have walked these halls (well, hall — we just have the one — it sure is a small house isn't it?) trying to stay out of each other's way but also checking in to make sure the other is OK. My husband works at a grocery store and is gone five days a week. I always knew he was essential — now the rest of the world knows it, too. Alice and I, however, are home. We are so home. Home... are those walls caving in? Home. Home Sweet — When can we Leave? — HOME. Are we are safe? Are we healthy? So far, yes and yes. A lot of people aren't and we are taking that seriously. We are grateful. We are tired. We are trying to figure out how to keep. being. at. home.
There seems to be some competition among a certain type of person regarding how well you are thriving in quarantine. Have you redone your floors? Have you painted those cabinets yet? Have you written the great American novel? How's that yoga going? I had high hopes in the beginning. Book journals were purchased with plans to write down our feelings after reading all of the books we were sure to read. And, I'm not trying to brag, but my child has nearly three entries. Her teacher recommended she read I am Malala and I was like, "Totally!" and now instead she's reading a Ted Bundy biography that seems super scary! I'm impressed she has the guts! I bet not every 12 year old is spending four minutes a day reading about serial killers.
Teachers, if any of you are reading this, first of all, please forgive all the grammar and syntax errors. Second, I cannot even express a worthy thank you properly. I don't know the right words because I didn't pay attention enough to my saint-like teachers when I should have. But, THANK YOU. Third, I'm sorry about failing with I am Malala.
School starts at 9:00 a.m. so I try to make sure Alice has a healthy breakfast by 11:30 at least. After school, it's time for her Animal Crossing avatar to go outside and get some exercise. While she's doing that, I rest and focus on some self care. I honestly have read quite a few books during quarantine and I know I am behind the times but I have completely fallen in love with the writing of Ann Patchett. I had a copy of Commonwealth at home that I got as a gift a couple of years ago; I read Bel Canto on the Libby app; and because I absolutely could not wait for my Libby hold to come in, I ordered The Dutch House from The Raven Bookstore. I loved every. single. one. of. them. In each book, I felt like I was an invisible guest, watching everything unfold.
Not crying enough during quarantine? May I suggest The Beekeeper of Aleppo which had me weeping for a solid hour? Currently, I'm hunkered down with All the Light we Cannot See. I know I'm late to the game on this one as well, but it's a beauty so far. I haven't cried, but it's still early.
In between not remodeling and not gardening, I have found the time to cook and to watch a lot of TV. I'll refrain from reviewing a show that initially aired five years ago, but if you're a Hulu subscriber, just know that watching all three seasons of Fargo in two weeks is an absolutely attainable goal. Also, as I'm realizing, we gotta eat. So, I'm focusing on cooking some Tex Mex from this cookbook I checked out on Hoopla. If all else fails, turn to cheese. If TV and cooking aren't your things, that's OK! Personally, I'm pretty proud of family's ability to come together and complete the border of this puzzle in 51 days. Putting it on the dining room table was a great idea as well. We love eating all of our meals outside on our porch instead if in the dining room. Nothing says family time like piling up all of my husband's bicycle parts in a corner while I balance that Pizza Shuttle pizza box on my hip, beckoning for someone to bring me a napkin before the cats get out.
As I spend these days at home, I inevitably come face to face with who I am as a person. That person is a parent, a reader, and a pretty decent cook. Am I a builder or a teacher? No. Apparently, I'm not even a puzzle finisher. But I am someone who loves our community and if staying inside is the best way to help, well, I guess I am pretty good at that.
-Sarah Mathews is an Accounts Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.