I think Miles has been watching too much Oprah while off from preschool. Wait a minute, Miles doesn't know who Oprah is (he is probably the only person on earth who can say that). So where did he get that line? "I am living my best life on this earth," is what he said to me as we walked in at lunchtime, after having been in the garden for the morning. I couldn't help but think of Oprah, of course, but also how he is viewing his little world right now. For me, it was a tiny glimpse into how his mind might be processing this time we are living in. It couldn't help but make me think of how divergent his perspective probably is from most other people living in lockdown during COVID 19. For Miles, being home, quarantined, and on lockdown, during a pandemic, is living his best life. I guess there is something for everyone. Miles was a wild child, from the time he was a year, until just recently. I sent him to school very shortly after he turned two. That was not the case with my other children. Catherine and Graham were two and a half when they started preschool and Garin was closer to three and a half. My decision to send Miles at such a young age, was partly because he was so spirited, as they say. Before he started school I spent every day on death watch, making sure he didn't harm himself by climbing on or jumping off something he wasn't supposed to. Also, we had just moved to our new home and I was overwhelmed trying to unpack and with a lot of other things going at the time. So, not only was Miles in school from the time he was quite young but also, his days there were very long. Due to scheduling issues with the other kids, he spent most of his waking hours at school. Often he arrived as early as 7:15 in the morning, shortly after they opened, and was one of the last to be picked up 6 in the evening. His long days were out of necessity, but I grappled with a lot of guilt about it. He always seemed happy when we arrived to pick him up, but I still felt bad. The other downside of his long school days was that I didn't get to spend much time with him, especially alone. COVID 19 has changed all that. He is here all day, every day. I spend a lot of time with him. It often occurs to me how different things are now for both of us. He misses school, I think, and I miss him being at school. But I also think we are both making up for lost time. A lot of the guilt I had, over the long hours he spent at school, has vanished. Keeping him occupied and busy all day is not easy, but there is something wonderful about having him back with me again, reminiscent of when he was a baby. I think he has been feeling especially good about his existence in the last two days because we have been together, in the garden, doing major demo work - one of his favorite activities. He stays alongside me and we work together. He has his own set of garden tools, which pleases him, and we have nice conversations, which pleases me. He is always in his pajamas. Miles isn't always terribly helpful, but having his company makes the experience a lot more pleasant for me. Sometimes, he goes a bit rogue on me by doing things like grabbing the very large tree/hedge trimmers (not the electric ones) and climbing a tree with them or worse yet, cutting something that shouldn't be cut. I have to remind him that we all have rules we have to follow when it comes to using big tools. His retort: "I have my own rules. I do whatever I want." His regression back to a two-year-old has been one of the more challenging aspects of quarantine. As he watched me doing back-breaking digging and trimming this morning, while he cut down branches from a perfectly lovely tree that didn't need trimming, I asked him if he enjoyed gardening. He said, "Actually, Mommy, we are un-gardening." I had to think about that for a minute and then realized he was right. Since we are tearing out parts of the garden, from his point-of-view, we were un-gardening. Somehow, as I sweated in the hot sun, switching back and forth between my huge shovel and electric hedge trimmers, with an aching back, the idea that I was un-gardening, just wasn't particularly inspirational to me at that moment. But having him by my side, gardening or un-gardening is a blessing I wouldn't trade for the world.
Miles atop his perch, directing my efforts in the garden.
Making a lot of progress before lunch.
Miles taking a break from gardening to attend his Zoom meeting, which apparently was keeping him awake.
A "treasure" we found amongst the piles of leaves and cut down plants. It was a statue of Jesus, believe it or not. Miles was quite excited and ventured a guess that it had been there for "1000 years."
Catherine came out to check on us, while she was taking a break from her work.
Miles found a very squirmy earthworm, which fascinated him greatly.
Catherine got in on the action with a hoe.
Garin and Graham preferring to stay in the house, reading with blankets and pillows. I think I would have preferred that as well!
All the kdis, venturing out when their school day was done to see the progress "we" had made.
Garin and Graham helping with cleanup duty.
Miles finally being truly helpful and participating in cleanup duty.
After......6:15 PM and finally all cleaned up. Ready to head in for a hard-earned dinner!