Quinlan, age 11, is on the couch, playing a game on her new Nintendo. I’ve just asked Cian, newly age 9, to start a load of his laundry. “What?!” he says. “How do I do that??” Me, calm: “Cian. You do laundry all the time. …
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over this Pandemic Thanksgiving + start of Covid Christmastime: On the Wednesday before your it’s-just-us-this-year Thanksgiving, it’s really nice to cook the big meal with your kids while also not stressing about cleaning the house for company. …
It’s 7:15 on Sunday morning. I’ve just sat down on the couch with a newspaper and the first, and therefore most precious, cup of coffee of the day. Cian’s already here in the living room playing, and he abandons his toys when I sit to climb up beside me and rest his head on my shoulder. He says good morning, and that’s where the expected slow start to my day goes into hyperdrive.
“Mom?” he says. “If anything is possible, then nothing is possible.”
I’m still in my pajamas. I’ve had one–one!–sip from the hot mug of coffee I still hold in my hand. I am not ready for seven-year-old philosophy yet, but Cian’s thought process moves at a speed that requires the under-caffeinated to catch up. I think for a second. Take another sip.
“But, buddy,” I say, “think about this: the word ‘any’ can be all things. Like if we talk about ‘anyone,’ we’re really talking about all people. So what does that say about a word like ‘anything?'”
Fifteen minutes later, we’re still talking. My coffee is now lukewarm, still in my hand. I haven’t glanced at the paper.
“So, if ‘anything’ can be like ‘anyone,’ and ‘anyone’ can do things, then everybody has a chance?” Cian is saying. I nod. We keep talking.
Ten minutes later, he’s satisfied, and changes his conclusion: if anything is possible, then all things are possible. By this point, the rest of the family is moving around the house. David’s poured his coffee and is calling the dog downstairs to go out. We’re going to make crepes and bacon for breakfast, and watch “TV church,” and head up into the mountains to watch the girls play soccer in the afternoon. The girls have gotten to the paper, laying claim to the comics, and Cian has kissed me on the shoulder and gone back to play with his LEGOS.
I look down at my coffee. I’ve still got most of a cup, gone cold. I get up to head to the pot for more, and my head is foggy, more from the conversation than from the lack of caffeine.
I glance at my youngest child, the one whose healthy birth was a mini miracle, and at my beloved girls–one whose pregnancy we almost lost, and the other who came out hollering–talking on the couch while passing the paper back and forth. The dog comes bounding in from the garage, and my husband, the one I fell in love with on a whim, shakes off the sweatshirt he wore outside, telling me to look out the window at the way the sun is rising up over the trees.
If anything is possible, then anything is possible.
There are things I’ve done that I regret in this life.
That 8 a.m. math class my freshman year in college is a big one (or, rather, the fact that I rarely showed up to it).
That pixie cut (“But Cameron Diaz looks so cute in hers!”) circa 2001.
But here, in this time of pandemic, I’ve done the most clichéd regrettable thing of all:
I cut Cian’s hair.
When I say “cut,” I mean I took scissors to Cian’s hair the other day, trying to maintain the style he’d had before. I cut it once, then twice to fix the once, then the final, cringe-worthy time to fix the mess I’d made the first two times.
My child. My beautiful sweet kid with the longish hair we both liked so much…
…now has a buzz cut.
He spent all of the day afterward glaring at me while pointing at his head: “I have ELF EARS!” But then the girls, thankfully, spent the rest of the evening telling him how great it was, and that he looked like a Jedi, and it did the trick. But now I can’t get a lightsaber out of his hands.
(David needed a haircut, too, and had asked me to trim his up. He took one look at what I’d done to our son and refused to let me near him.)
There are worse things to do in this life, or nay, in a pandemic. We decide that Love is Blind is almost quality entertainment and stay up too late hate-watching Netflix. We walk by the kid’s Zoom call not realizing her entire class has just seen us braless in the crappy pajamas. We chew food even though we know it will enrage at least one member of the people stuck eating with us.
But, if I can give you any advice: put the scissors/clippers down. Just walk away. Give the kid a hat if his hair is in his eyes and if he’s not complaining then don’t even go there. Just don’t.
Even if it will make him believe he’s a Jedi.
Quinlan was in my bathroom Sunday morning as we were getting ready to go see my mom. It was Easter. We’d giggled over the baskets and laughed through the backyard egg hunt and baked and eaten the Resurrection Rolls, but we’d also watched a lot …