It was predictable, I suppose that I would be challenged by this time. Not just working my way through grief- but the challenge so many of us are dealing with – where all of a sudden you’re locked in your freakin’ house and can’t see anyone and can’t go anywhere and you’re swinging back and forth between resolving that you’re going to emerge from this a whole new sort of person – one with clean closets, tidy drawers, a revived yoga habit and a new career… and being the you who can hardly handle it, eating cake with your hands standing over the sink. You know what I mean?
None of the restrictions here in Toronto have started to lift, and frankly it sounds like we’ll be in this for a while yet. We’re still only to go outside for essential purposes like to seek medical attention or get groceries, and even then only one person from the household is supposed to go shopping no more than once a week. Joe’s that person here (and the designated shopper for his parents, Meg and Amanda, a few others, just so that it’s even fewer trips out for anyone) so he still goes out into the world in a limited way, but me… I’ve been in the house for weeks now, and there are moments where I’m a little wild around the edges. The City’s said it’s okay to go out for exercise if you can keep your distance from others, and so I’ve taken full advantage of that, walking and running through the neighbourhood for my allotted time per day, and at least letting the sun shine on my face (when it is not goddamn snowing and yes I know I live in Canada and late April snow is technically legal, but the stuff seems unfair this year, all things considered) and I look out the window a lot, though there’s not much to see out there.
The separation from the family continues to make us all crazy. It is clear to me now that being a close and loving family that spends heaps of time together has worked against us here. We are all far too attached to each other – and I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here, but we are not just emotionally close – we’re close. I can walk to the homes of most people I love, and the remaining ones are just a quick bike ride or drive. (Here in the city, those two modes of transit often take about the same amount of time.) There is something about knowing how near they all are that seems to make me wilder. To know Elliot is a stone’s throw away but I can’t see him?
When my mum was alive, she used to remind me, in terms I won’t use here because I try not to swear on the blog, that when I am unhappy or challenged, I need to get out. Not just out of the house (though she thought that was good too) but right out of your head. Stop thinking so much. Stop worrying so much, get out of yourself and focus on other people. It’s terrific advice – it is very hard to dwell on your own problems when you’ve decided to think about other people’s, so as Easter headed our way and the family was sad and separated, I started to come up with a plan.
First, I knitted some stuff. Mostly stuff for Elliot… and for Bunny. It seemed to me that a new spring frock was in order.
Just leftovers of course, but it made for a charming addition to their wardrobe. (A reminder that Bunny is gender fluid and their pronouns are they/them/their. Elliot has felt no need to fence Bunny in. Bunny is being all the bunny they can be.)
I also knit him a sweet little toy – three is a good age for being obsessed with things that go in other things – pockets, boxes, envelopes… so I knit Susan B. Anderson’s little Flower Fairy and Leaf Sprite – though I left off the wings.
Mine are just little garden people. Then I started to knit an egg. (Pattern here, I knit mine in the round, fun and easy.) I thought it would be a sweet thing to tuck in a basket for him. I have to say though, that egg was pretty damned satisfying- so I knit a few more.
Those felt great too, and so I knit some more –
and then I came up with a system for blocking them.
And then I decided… well, I think I decided to go big or go home and the next thing I knew I had a houseful of eggs, Joe had been instructed to add a whack of chocolate to our weekly shop, I was baking my face off, and there was a spreadsheet and a very big plan. I went to bed early on the Saturday night before Easter, and set an alarm for…5:15am. (What. It’s not like I have anything else to do.)
(Pictured here, fewer than half of the eventual eggs. It got right out of hand.)
Sunday morning I got up, printed my spreadsheet, moved to the staging area (that used to be the dining room) and started to load up the car. Joe was a slightly less than cheerful accomplice at this point, but as always staggered on, mumbling things like “happy wife, happy life” and moving yet another chocolate bunny or knitted egg out of his way.
By 6:15 we were in the car. Moments later we made our first stop. I had the spreadsheet organized by both geography and predicted time of awakening for the recipients – so our first stop was Joe’s mum and dad’s back garden. We snuck in and hid (not very well) a knitted egg, a chocolate bunny and a little tray of freshly baked cinnamon buns, then back out to the car and a quick text “There’s an Easter hunt in your back garden” and we were off. The next stop was Katie and Carlos’s back garden where we hid bunnies for Luis and Frankie, lots of eggs, a big tray of cinnamon buns and a bottle of wine. (They are locked down with two little kids. You gotta help where you can.) We hit some friends after that…
We set up a hunt for Elliot down the back path by their walk-up, and then Amanda’s front porch, then a drive to Sam’s – she was our farthest stop and has a big backyard, so she got a proper hunt too. Then it was Ken’s turn, treats hidden on his porch, then Cameron, and Pato and Jen … Oh, and our friend Billy. He’s a nurse and deserves all the love we can show him right now.
The whole thing was like the opposite of a heist, and we were even caught on security footage –
which Katie and Carlos texted to us after the fact.
We made the rounds, trying to do something loving for every person on our list and you know, mum was right. Still. Again, like she always was and is. We got out of our heads and into the feelings of the people around us, tried to make some serious deposits in the love bank that we’ll certainly need to make withdrawals from in the future, and it was pretty great. I think we’re probably going to get through.
Chin up gang. This too shall pass. Go eat some cake with your hands.