Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Letter? I Hardly Know Her!

It's the first Friday in February, and it's bitter cold with about a foot of snow piled up outside, which means it is absolutely the wrong time to take stock of your life and decide with Qeheloth that all is vanity. No momentous decisions should be made in February, because February is a sham even in normal years. February is a time for waiting it out.

I have been waiting it out for a while now. My laptop has been commandeered by children for class and for games and for external socialization (as opposed to socializing with one's innumerable siblings), and I find it hard to say no to these essentially okay things. But as a result I'm writing less. My handy dandy notebook disappeared into the void a while ago, and my life has become more and more uncharted. The pace of daily events has slowed to a crawl, as people are not inclined to do more grunt work than Mom gets out of them by sitting on them, and sitting on innumerable children grows wearing after a while, even if they are all your own darlings. 

As a result, we have a very relaxed pace of life around here -- a February pace, you might say. Many good things come from this. My three-year-old has started playing long involved games with his little men, and will even sometimes pick them all up unasked and put them back in the nice wooden box they came in. My six-year-old, previously a rebel at the piano, has discovered a silly song in his book and is working himself to learn it. The ten-year-old with dyslexia has had a jump in her reading abilities and is reading books on her own. The twelve-year-old just ripped through Watership Down, devours books, and is finally learning some grammar and spelling because he wants to send messages to friends. The teen girls keep their own schedules and have found ways to connect with friends even in these hard days for companionship. If I can take any credit for these things, it's that I run the kind of household where people have time to do what they want, an anarchic paradise.

I have taken to trying to get out of the house once a day, lest I atrophy completely. (How odd this statement would have sounded in the days of drama practice and baseball and tae kwon do and youth group.) Most days this involves a walk around the block with Darwin, where we get our needed time alone to talk. But the snow accumulation and sub-freezing temperatures militate against this right now and -- get this! -- I don't actually have a pair of boots for snow walking. I did buy a pair a while ago, but they ended up fitting one of my daughters better, and I just never got my own pair. There's no reason I can't get a new pair, except each particular moment is not the moment I want to deal with it.

This past week, Darwin, who has not found the new work-at-home regime conducive to his style of doing business, decided there was no reason that he couldn't go into work a few days a week, when the building is standing practically empty. It makes a lot of sense, and will probably add some needed structure to our days. But as I stood in the kitchen with many small fry needing things from me -- each making the most reasonable, unobjectionable requests, so why is Mom impatient?, only there are six of them and one of me -- I thought, "But I'll still be here, every day."

All of which is to say: it must be time for Lenten Letters.

If you'd like a letter from me during Lent -- handwritten, and I've even just refilled my fountain pen -- please send me your address at darwincatholic (at) Last year, as the lockdown took full effect and we all went a little nuts, I got behind schedule and the last comers ended up getting postcards from Yellowstone in July. This year I'll try to be more disciplined. (Long-time readers can stop laughing now.)

Last year I asked people to tell me a bit about themselves so I could tailor my letters. Anyone is welcome to do that (and I loved reading your notes!) but the reality is that I'm just going to write about what I'm going to write about that day, so don't feel obligated. I'm just looking forward to knowing that there are other people out there who also feel the need of some real human contact in February.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I loved getting your postcard last year!