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A Slow Walk Toward Insanity


One of the worst things about this is kids missing each other. I read one warning today to not even have any play dates, but dang. I think we’ll go with the tight circle of friends. Ellie’s friend came over for a few hours while his mom worked, and that gave them a sense of normalcy. I think that is going to be a challenge until we’re all used to the new normal. Teachers and other community outlets like the JCC have found clever ways for kids to post to a YouTube channel and we’re already Facetiming friends.

It got a little stressful when Sam was added to the mix this afternoon and Ellie’s friend called him adorable. The truth is he is. Very much so, and his anger at the friend only added to it. He shouted, “No, I big like my daddy.”

I said, “That’s right. You’re a big boy and handsome.”

Sam shouted at friend, “I not cute. I handsmeh!”

I can’t call him cute to his face any more. He’s my big boy, I guess. Later, I was cooking dinner and thinking that this was a good day, and then I remembered the hour or so we had three kids in the house, and I thought that my writing I share during this time may be everyone’s bird’s-eye-view of a married couple on a slow walk to insanity.

Around 9:00, I made the mistake of catching up on the day’s news. It made me nervous. It made me begin to fear the worst. That’s what I get for reading the news late. Gotta get that news early and from Good Morning America or something like it. Comfort food Insta-Pot recipes while the world dies.

Things can feel ominous. I have to remember that my wife feels that and maybe even more and love her more because of it. Then, I have to remember this is a media creation in some ways for good and bad, and while I believe we have to act seriously and responsibly, this is a no-lose situation for any prognosticator because if it doesn’t meet the direst predictions, they get to say, Hey, it was all of our efforts to contain. And if the direst predictions are met, they are sadly right. All of those things can be true.

After that I read for awhile, and then I tried to watch TV and I just got the feeling that watching these shows was like watching remnants of a time gone by. Like seeing a movie set in NYC before 9/11 and seeing the towers, and you’re reminded of what was.

I’ve decided I’m going to plant flowers. I already plant lots of flowers, but I mean I’m going to plant so many everywhere and I’m going to bring life to my little spot. Bees and butterflies and birds, and the bunnies that trip my security lights in the backyard. I’m going to bring beauty and light into darkness.

It will all be OK if we just breathe life into the little world around us. But even though it’s corny, if you feel that way, you can literally change the world. Fight death with life, sickness with love, isolation with our families, and fight fear with hope. The wide world will shine when things are normal if we take this opportunity to love.

How much better of a husband can I be when I can devote so much more of my love and time to my wife? How much better a dad can I be with more time to wrestle, hold, and play with my kids, and to be a normal dad in an abnormal time?

The headline for my newspaper should be, Rhodes Hits Jackpot.

I’m gettin all those precious minutes I wished I could get before the world shut down, plus, I get some minutes that I might not wish for, but I’ll still be loving them all because we can all be so much more in love with each other.

That’s everything - love. That’s our stress coming through, that’s our anger because of our close quarters, that’s our fear, or our ability to be a pest (Sam), and it’s also watching Karate Kid with everyone and Sam asking, When him going to learn to me a ninja from Misser Miagme?

And it’s best when he shouts, Bonsai!

I smile with them. I generally don’t worry when I’m with them, and I find a little more comfort with them, just as I have in a time of loss. Nothing so sweet as to wake up with two kids in the bed with me this morning under a picture of my siblings and I in a bed with our dad. Love. Life. Breathe.

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