Nana and Good Things

Last night my family was enjoying watching television together. It was the end of the day, homework and dishes were done and we were relaxing. The last few days have been harder and I think it’s because we’ve hit a bit of a wall. As my kids say, every day is the same, the school closure has been extended (we knew it would be) and there isn’t a heck of a lot to look forward to especially since the freedom of summer is in question. When I tried to get them to list some things that are good right now (we are watching The Good Place with them after all) it was slim pickings for anything new that wasn’t also good a week or twenty ago. When my husband said how happy he’s been to be able to be at home spending more time with us, the kids balked and said nothing good can be recognized when so many people are sick and dying. Right.

So we slowly opened up a dialogue on the importance of finding goodness when it’s hard. We talked about having less pressure to go to school and work more at one’s own pace, so hard still, but a definite bonus! We talked about Rory having hours to dive deep once again into Harry Potter – those books are a balm for that kid and always will be. We said how much fun we’ve had planning fun pick-up dinners for the weekends to make them stand out and be special. How without school they can stay up later and we’ve gotten out our telescope and star watched and saw Venus this week. By the end of the chat, at bedtime, they weren’t entirely convinced because life right now is the Groundhog Day movie on loop (which us campers do all love but still).

When they get down, I need to do what I can to keep myself up. My own list is pretty good right now. All the books I’m reading (and ordering), the baking, some sunshine, more time for baths (mostly because I haven’t gone a day without pain in 6 weeks and my sciatica is calmed by warm water, but still) but more than anything, the conversations I’m having every day with my Nana.

She’s living right now with family in Orillia, far from her nursing home, where thank goodness no cases have been reported. Her birthday, 93, was right before this happened and we were sick I think with colds and sadly couldn’t visit. I sent her books for her birthday including the first in the Lane Winslow mystery series by Iona Whishaw, one of my favourites. One of my greatest joys of this lockdown – without doubt – has been experiencing her completely devour the entire series and talk about it with her each day.

My Nana has always been a voracious reader. She was the head children’s librarian in Whitby for years – during my early years so I was in very good hands. My birthday parties growing up were amazing – props and costumes and film reels and screens borrowed from her work, each year’s better than the last. I was the star of every Storytime, Bernice’s granddaughters were famous in that building. She taught me to read, introduced me to Harriet and Anastasia and so many other great loves.

She gave me my love of reading which I treasure above most things in my life. Reading has gotten me through so much and so has she, they both still do. To be able to share these books – this reading experience – with her now through such a hard and scary time when, my kids are right, some days it’s so tricky to find the good things, is more than I could ever have imagined.

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