The last time my daughter and I went shopping for fun was what Canada calls “Boxing Day”, December 26th.
The last time we left the house—except to drop off eggs just a few miles away—was February 18th.
The last time I put gas in my car was… gee, I can’t even remember the last time I put gas in my car. It doesn’t take much to do the basic drop-offs and pick-ups from school, which I have tended to combine with the necessary trips to the grocery store.
No wonder I have felt a bit closed in.
But this afternoon, my daughter and I have big plans to travel all the way to Keene, New Hampshire, twenty-five minutes away. Vermonters are technically allowed to cross the border for “essential shopping”—and the two of us have decided includes some stores in Keene. It’s another benefit of the school schedule this year: Wednesdays are only a half day of on-line school. (The building is closed for deep cleaning; the afternoon is for teachers to have more planning time to organize their in-person/remote/combination classes.)
Once in Keene, we joined one other shopper at the crafting supply store, where we picked out fabrics for a probable weekend project.
We indulged ourselves at Starbucks but had to return to our car to consume our drinks. The two of us just chatted and appreciated the little break. We were in no hurry, after all.
We met up with Son #1’s girlfriend, who is now at college in this same city. Again, we took our time, leisurely strolling through stores together, pointing out fun things we saw, enjoying each other’s company.
We ate supper at Panera’s, probably taking twice as long as necessary, just catching up.
These things are so mundane to normal life that I hesitate to even include them in today’s entry. An afternoon spent with my daughter… and an evening with my daughter and Son #1’s girlfriend… how odd to even dwell on it.
One big difference stands out for me, though: I was completely in the moment. Pre-COVID, I think I would have pushed more to get over and back, struggled to fit it into my schedule, not listened as hard to the conversation, and not been as present in the moment.
I am realizing that’s my silver lining on March 3, 2021: the boring stuff has become much more fun—and I am much more aware of how important this “boring stuff” really is. And yes, absolutely: I am ready for COVID to just exit stage left, to stop hogging the limelight.
But maybe I will keep this positive awareness, too, and maybe I’ll be more like I was this afternoon and evening.