I don’t like to go on about First World problems when the world is grappling with the stifling effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, but as a chronicler of the Nourish-N-Cherish household, my job is a tough one. There is much to write – my list of unwritten posts grows by the day.
In the latest news, I had to shoo out protestors before my meeting started. The protestors were noisy, marched with placards and while their motion held merit, I could not allow protests of this nature to carry on into my meeting slot, plus they did not have the critical mass of individuals required to ban the protest altogether.
The morning had started with the son asking “Is it only Tuesday?” and we laughed.
“Yes it is only Tuesday my child – only the second day since school closed! I hear you!” I said. The daughter was singing the Disney song “When will my life begin?!” and looking forlorn before her day started. Covid-19 has us all in Shelter-in-place mode, and that has thrown all of us in a loop.
While we are grateful for the ability to be able to work from home during these times, it also makes for an interesting dynamic in the home. Do we wear gloves and arm wrestle for the office space? The daughter has online classes and is therefore quite happy to be holed up in her own room.
In what is a low move, the Television in the house has decided to go into social distancing and is sheltering-in-place. When asked to glow and sing, and generally make merry, the television has decided to go mute and shut down with a satisfying click.
The daughter, when she heard of it, moaned and said
“What?! Oh my goodness! Do you really think we can spend all that time together without TV and not drive each other nuts?” I laughed and said that I was touched she thought that way of her kind family. She rolled her eyes. “You know what I mean!”
The son rallied as best as he could and said it would be lovely since he has never spent a summer with parents with all of us at home through the day. I was touched, and also glad to see the silver lining. He, too, did not take the TV blow stoically, however.
That is how I found the pair of them crouching and writing up protest slogans on a piece of cardboard, which in happier times would have been used for making traps for St Patricks Day. patricks_day_ij-v1
They came marching noisily protesting for the TV and I found myself laughing.
I was reminded of the New York Times article that a friend shared with me a while ago, “Let Children Be Bored”. One thought in that article particularly spoke to my heart, As children, we rarely complained of boredom, because we knew where that would get us. It would get us the task of cleaning our room, or cleaning up our clothes cupboard, or worse yet, the haunted, “Why don’t you study?” refrain. It was vastly better to draw five hundred versions of a snowflake than to concede your boredom to an adult.
Thich Nhat Hanh said, We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
Life is boring and the sooner we learn to keep ourselves occupied, the better for us. We learnt that lesson quickly did we not? So, why do we feel the obligation to whip out a form of entertainment for the children or feel the need to engage them in anyway? By doing so, are we not starving the creative self in some way? The eternal self , as Mary Oliver calls our creative self, needs solitude, it needs boredom to whip up an imaginary world, a novel game or a piece of Art.
Three days of no television, shelter-in-place mandates, no school, and continuing work will quickly have me begging for the Television, but for now, I have a list of chores ready.
“Come children – let’s start dinner! While you put away the dishwasher, why don’t you help me with the vegetables?” I said in my best head-chef voice humming loudly – “When will my life begin!?”
I heard the daughter say, “Is it only Tuesday?!”