My feet tingle as they hit the cold, wet deck of the covered porch that goes the length of the front and back of this “Texas farmhouse.” Pussy willows reach for the sky with their arms out in praise, their soft buttons of fur standing out in contrast against the darkness of the woods behind them. A Christmas amaryllis in full bloom adds a splash of red color against the greens of spring as though it’s Christmas again. Crunching leaves of fall remain interlaced with new blades of grass, and Texas wildflowers start to show their cheery faces as the old tree at the edge of the property blooms with white blossoms. A roar of rain slamming into the tin roof drowns out the distant birdsongs.
There is simply no feeling quite as good as spring. Winters, even the short and warmer ones like this year’s, are always long, and we await the new season with hope and anticipation.
Fields of Flowers
Yesterday, Laurie and I were explorers on a quest for fields of bluebonnets. Roadsides here are covered with them, thanks to Lady Bird Johnson, who had seeds handed out with license plates and encouraged Texans to spread the seeds along roadsides. The viral effect created roads of beauty, a Texas tradition we all look forward to. Kids in their Sunday best are photographed among the fields of flowers each year as an Easter tradition.
Massive Snow Drifts
When I lived in Indiana as a child, winter provided a much-needed rest from the activity of the rest of the year. Snowdrifts the size of houses would keep us inside by the fieldstone fireplace, other than a few frozen adventures to tunnel out and build snow forts where we would lob ice orbs at one another.
A Crafty Lady
We learned to be creative, to fill the time with projects — some productive and useful, like cleaning out indoor spaces in need of decluttering, and others more creative. My mom would sit for hours between meals cutting fabric to cover shoes, make hats, and sew clothes. She was the first to place a paintbrush in my hand as if to give me a life mission I did not yet know I had. We would sit together for hours, talking and painting.
The Baggy Green Sweater
One year Mom asked me to pick out some yarn for a sweater she would knit. I picked out bright green fuzzy mohair, which seemed like a good idea at the time. The end result was oversized (so I could grow into it), baggy, and made me look like a giant green blob from Mars. I can still see the pride in her eyes seeing me wear it to school, yet as soon as I was at my locker, it came off — then back on again before going home. I was embarrassed to be seen in it. I tear up just thinking about how hard she worked on that sweater for me, the love that went into it, and my deception so my friends wouldn’t see me wearing it. I think she eventually found out, which would have broken her heart.
My fondest memories of my great childhood are about the downtime, the simple times of crafting at the dining room table, being with family when the fireplace was crackling, and playing long games of Monopoly.
Last week I mentioned silver linings, and this time of quarantine is an opportunity to reconnect, to have downtime to play, to make memories, to engage with your family.
A Little Embarrassed
Remember when the media frenzy called Y2K had many of us ready for the end of the world? I have special memories of the family being sequestered together in a cabin on a frozen lake, a memory that is special to this day. Though nothing came of Y2K and we look back a little embarrassed at taking the bait, it’s hard to know what looking back over COVID-19 will be like. But we could look back on the best parts, when we were forced to be inside with family.
What can you do to make this time the most special in the memory bank of your family?
What can you do to communicate messages your family needs to hear… family legacy, the stories of the past?
What lessons can we impart to our families? Not lectures, but stories with lessons built-in?
As the cases amplify and more is learned as more are tested, we can focus on the bad, or we can focus on the things we can influence or change. Let’s use this time to strengthen our relationships and build lifetime memories.
One day soon we’ll be looking back, probably a little embarrassed that we filled our garages with toilet paper, but we’ll cherish the time we were imprisoned indoors.
Yes, this too shall pass.
Be strong, but be deliberate. Don’t let this opportunity pass; it’s a chance to create a lifetime memory.