Time seemed to move faster in recent years; but I don’t know about you, these past seven months have been the longest of my parenting life. I think it’s because everything stopped: youth sports, travel plans and visits to friends and family.
The pandemic has brought plenty of bad — and strange — occurrences, that’s for sure, but all hasn’t been lost.
Well, maybe except for the simple pleasures of grocery shopping.
I admit, I was spoiled, going to the store daily and finding mostly everything I needed.
When COVID-19 began, it was toilet paper that went missing first, then the wipes and sanitizer. Other odd products were hit-or-miss, like some frozen foods or meats.
Last month, however, it was paper towels.
Maybe it was my side of town or only our frequently visited stores, but many people in my family couldn’t find the normal six-roll packages (brand name or off-brand). Sometimes, you could find the singles, but other times the shelves were empty.
I know, this seems like first-world problems amid the nation’s political and social divisiveness, racial injustices and a global pandemic.
However, these are the things that keep us sane — we need that small sense of normalcy.
So when I finally snagged an off-brand pack, the last one on an early Sunday morning, I was excited to bring it home.
I didn’t want to waste the rolls; I wanted to relish in my victory. That day, my youngest son was working the controller for hours, like he has done all summer, playing Minecraft and building big mansions. He finally emerged from his room and said “I’m bored,” which is usually the famous last words before we fight about what he should do or clean. Really, I felt mentally exhausted from it all — quarantine, choosing how we would go to school, figuring out dinner, when we will shop, and yes, what we won’t find at the store.
Our sons, who are in middle school, have been interested in participating in the rock painting community and Facebook group “Northeast Ohio Rocks!” The group, with more than 200,000 members, promotes painting and hiding rocks around the region. It’s a big hide-and-seek-and-rehide with these pieces of art. You feel extra lucky to find some of these rocks, and then it’s a joy to hope others get to see them, too.
So, I offered a suggestion to my son, “Want to paint some rocks?” In my head, my thoughts were “go back and play your game” and…” “I don’t want to use the paper towels.” Yes, both sound awful.
He said, “Sure, I will get the rocks.”
That’s what we did. First we cleaned rocks. We dabbed our brushes on the paper towels in all the colors, and then we wiped away our mess. It was relaxing just being with my tween — without electronics. I didn’t think or worry about what was happening in the outside world.
And even though I slightly cringed at every arm-length pull of an absorbent sheet from him, he was well worth losing that one roll.