Sunday, July 17, 2016

Imaginary worlds

One day you wake up … on your own … without the alarm blaring … or a cat staring you down for a bowlful of pellets … or a child … holding themselves around the middle and murmuring something about feeling like they are going to throw up. … It's just you ... and maybe the twitter of birds for a soundtrack.

Maybe it's a Sunday morning, and the sun is out.

Maybe you have something to do; maybe you don't. You're in no hurry in any case.

The house isn't silent. Make a mental note of this if you can. You think quiet is peaceful now, but in time, the truer silence will seem unsettling. Where is everyone?

There is movement deep within the house. A dog barks. A door opens and closes. A dog barks again. The process repeats.

If you are fortunate, there may be an aroma of coffee wending its way toward you. Already poured and colored the way you prefer.

It's probably not in your favorite cup … but that's just nit-picky of you to notice. (I hope you didn't say anything … It would seem ungrateful.)

Just say thank you, and let the words vibrate the rust from your vocal chords. Smile and invite the bearer to climb in and listen to music or read a book.

Be thankful the coffee is a little cold. It will probably spill a little.

Don't mention the little splotches on the floor, either. Scuffing your stockinged feet over the spillage will erase the damage.

We are lucky to have so little to do.

I'll admit, I get a little down some days … thinking of all the things I should be doing … but won't be doing. All the little chores that pile up around me: The grass is too long. … The weeds are overtaking the garden … The dog needs a walk.

The kids go here and there, but it feels like hours tick by with little movement.

Now that summer is in full swing, we are flitting from one thing to another, but with ample time in between to rest ourselves from the heat and humidity. It feels a bit like the house has turned into a pond, and we are all colorful amphibians, resting ourselves on lily pads before we jump at flies.

My son makes his own breakfast: A bowlful of granola and a dollop of yogurt. My daughter walks him to camp. I'll find his dishes tomorrow somewhere unexpected. It will be a surprise. Under his bed? Behind the door in the bathroom? In the hammock on the porch? He quietly keeps me guessing.

I'd tell you life was peaceful, but the truth is the peace and quiet were brought to me by a wireless connection. It roils my soul a little to know that in the quiet of their lairs, my children are building worlds in Minecraft. Or perhaps they are following their bliss around the block with PokemonGo.

As I read (and ignore) all the scientific-sounding reports of the dangers of screens on young minds, I am loathed to stop them. The kids are alright, I tell myself. This, too, shall pass.

They are playing together in their imaginary world. And I am drinking coffee in mine.  

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