FEATURE — I could write this column about in-person school resuming for all of my children – finally – or how my kids’ school district just announced they’ll be starting the high schools an hour later next year, because rested teenagers are happy teenagers (Oh, the joy!).
I could write about COVID-19 vaccinations from the perspective of a divided household. I have an appointment for my shot next week and my husband isn’t so sure about the whole thing.
I could write about the utter joy of a Sunday afternoon walk on the beach with my 81-year-old father over spring break after 15 months of only seeing him on Zoom and worrying that I might not see him in person again at all.
I could write about the death of Prince Phillip at age 99 and how I woke up today feeling inexplicably sad for the Queen and her loss.
I could write about the dormant-until-December volcano currently erupting in the Caribbean. Or the new Seaspiracy documentary that shows how the commercial fishing industry is ruining our oceans. Or the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. Or how broken I felt about America’s judicial system after watching Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.
But I’m not going to write about any of that.
Maybe it’s the sunlight creeping into my room slightly earlier each day, draping my bed in warmth before I rise.
Maybe it’s the baby buds on my flowering plum, turning the bare brown branches into a packed stadium of green.
Maybe it’s the tiny shoots of grass popping up in nooks of dirt reserved for other things. Or maybe it’s reading my friend’s lovely haikus – a new one each day of April – published online.
Whatever it is, something is egging me towards lightness and frivolity and away from all those other heavier things. And I must acquiesce.
Facebook reminded me recently about a conversation I had 10 years ago with my then four-year-old middle child.
This is the same child who once told me he’s “a superhero who doesn’t need a sidekick” when I tried to offer him help with his music practice. He’s also the same child who once claimed at age three that “somebody pooped in my pants, but it wasn’t me.”
Obviously, the kid has an imagination. And his own way of seeing the world that usually brings both lightness and frivolity. So, when the memory of him popped up on my Facebook feed, I welcomed it heartily.
Me: Are you wearing underwear? Because you know my rule – you have to wear underwear with shorts.
Him: Oh yeah, I’m wearing underwear for sure.
Me: Let me check because I’m pretty sure I don’t see any under there [gesturing to his lower half].
Him: That’s because it’s invisible underwear.
I don’t need to point out to you that he most definitely did not have invisible underwear.
But I do have to give the kid credit for seeing things in his own way. Not that I’m an advocate for lying to yourself or others – hello, “The Emperor Has No Clothes” – but how we choose to see things does have an impact on us.
Emphasis on the word choose.
So, today, on this beautiful day of spring, I choose to have hope. I choose to believe that the growth and lightness showcased in the natural world is an aspiration for us all. I choose to not let the heavy news of the world way me down and impair me from moving forward.
And I choose to wear underwear. Real underwear. Not the invisible kind.
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