Last night, on the eve of our boys’ sixth birthday, our family did what we do every night. We turned on a lullaby, and while it played, Tate and I danced in the dark, and Parker and Mike tossed the football.
Tate is into interpretive dance these days — sort of ballet, sort of slow-mo breakdance. Parker is perfecting his quarterback stutter step. He fires three-foot bullets to his father; Tate pirouettes in our pas des deus.
It is my favorite time of day. I love how the boys still curl into our bodies like baby bats as we lift them into bed, clinging to our necks for kisses.
Last night, Mike and I snuck out after tucking them in, to sit on the their new birthday trampoline, have a glass of wine, and stare at the stars. There was a fine mist covering the sky. At first only Venus, in a blurry halo, was visible. But then, the night pulled back her veil — its long, wispy strands rushing off in every direction — to reveal the scattered, bright pinpoints of stars overhead. It was so peaceful.
I couldn’t help considering the chaos and uncertainty in the world right now, contrasted with the quiet, soothing simplicity surrounding us there in the dark.
A plane whirred overhead. An occasional cricket chirped. Someone had lit a bonfire not far away. The slight scent of woodsmoke drifted into the spaces vacated by the mist. A few doors down, the soft murmurs of back porch conversation.
Our neighbors had our same idea… seek refuge in the stillness of the night.
I wished upon a star then… that all the hazy uncertainty surrounding us would dissolve into studded pinpoints of clarity and hope. I prayed for fresh opportunities to emerge from the fog of fear and the fever of disease. Quickly and soon.
And I know it’s going to take a while longer. Still, if people who can stay home would just stay home. If they would stop running the roads and pounding their metaphorical chests and proclaiming themselves immune from the virus… Then it wouldn’t take nearly as long for us all to reach the other side of this pandemic.
The number of cases in Georgia has tripled overnight. Here in Bartow, we almost doubled. We’re climbing that exponential curve. We’re about to start knowing people who are sick. Some of us already do.
So stay home. Please. Find the stillness within to contrast the chaos without.
Sit on your porches, your patios, your trampolines. Sing songs and dance dances here in the dark. Because these are, indeed, dark times.
But there is sweetness to be found inside darkness, too. There is. Find those sweet, quiet rituals that can center your soul and soothe your worries.
Kiss your family. Take long baths. Star gaze. Read. Write. Meditate. Pray. Pray for those who are sick, pray for those who are in the battle zone fighting for patients’ lives, and pray for your fellow man.
Today, the boys have no birthday party. No school celebration. No family gathering.
But they have gifts. Gifts delivered by grandparents maintaining a socially-safe six feet between them. Gifts delivered by Amazon from grandparents with three big states between them. And gifts delivered by a novel virus currently sweeping the world.
Yes, gifts have even arrived courtesy of this pandemic. Because these boys have been gifted with lots of time with their parents. And we’ve been gifted with lots of time with them. And that is a gift not to be taken for granted.
Because they are growing up so fast. And we are growing old even faster.
Yes, there is sweetness to be found in the darkness. So when night pulls back her veil and reveals all her scattered, bright pinpoints of simplicity and light, receive those gifts. Relish them.
Oh… and Stay the F at Home.