by MD Maurice
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
|Blue skies and sunshine have dominated these last few weeks as my corner of the world slowly and awkwardly embraces a new normal in the wake of COVID-19. While we may not be out of the woods yet, it is hard to ignore the burgeoning hope borne of anticipating shopping trips and movie nights out again. For my daughter, she is most anxious for play dates and time with her friends. This whole thing has been hardest on the kids I believe, especially the ones who do not share their home with siblings. Without brothers or sisters as de facto playmates, our daughter has felt the isolation more keenly than her Dad or I ever could.
As I returned to working in the office full time, she has dutifully packed up her school work and snacks each morning to go in with me. To her credit, she has complained little about trading our spacious home for my narrow office for more hours a day than I wished were necessary. She has adapted to working independently as I shoulder some of the responsibility of helping the company best position itself for the challenges of a post-covid world.
On our commute in this morning, Sara Evan’s “Supernatural” came on the radio. I was instantly transported, through a haze of glossy memory, to a time when I was a newly minted mother. I used to love the rolling, Celtic melody of that song. I played it often back then, it made me feel happy and hopeful. As the tune spilled from the speakers, I was suddenly once again that young woman, slowly dancing across the sun-warmed wood floors in my bare feet, my infant daughter cradled against my chest. I could feel her full head of dark silk tucked under my chin, her tiny, clutching hands at my chest and the side of her perfect face pressed in close to where my heart beat fiercer than it had ever before. It had felt like magical moment suspended in time.
It was that kind of tactile memory that floods your every sense. The kind you experience as a flash of time when you can feel it all again, with every cell of your being. I believe those type of memories are gifts, bestowed on us by the benevolent beings when we need them the most.
With my throat thick with emotion, I flicked my eyes to the rear view, trying to reconcile that tiny baby with the growing girl in the back seat. I can still see her in those soot dark lashes and sloping brow. The soft curls are gone and so it the round, cherub face. My daughter, closing in on age 11, is morphing into a strong and graceful beauty. She has an athleticism that inspires me, a quick wit that delights me and a kind heart that melts my own. Those tiny clutching fingers have grown into lovely slender digits that flit effortlessly over piano keys and nimbly type out text messages to her friends. She is reaching that age where she begins to move farther from me as she meets more and more of the world head-on.
There are times though when the child reveals itself, more so during the time of this quarantine. It seems that the swift and uncertain turn of her world has regressed her in some small ways. For example, she has insisted on falling asleep between us again, as if it gives her a measure of extra comfort at the end of these strange days. She seems to want the physical contact with us more, bestowing random kisses and full armed hugs, when she had taken to shying away from them before. In other ways, she’s dropped her guard. At times her growing maturity has suddenly slipped to reveal the child again. Just the other day on a hike with her Dad, she was startled by a snake crossing the trail in front of her and it was as if the shock of it turned her into a panicked child again. She ran screaming and crying up the trail. She would only be calmed by a piggyback ride from her father, well past the part of the trail where the offending creature had disappeared into the brush.
If there are positives to take away from a pandemic like this, it is the time we have been given to spend with our daughter, to focus on and enjoy the moments of quiet and chaos that come with her growing up. It has made me pay more attention to the precious balance of life and the amazing gift of lucid memories. There might even be something almost something supernatural about it all….
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