Last evening at dusk, my son Ezra and I took our dog Freya for a walk through our neighborhood. It’s early Spring now, week 4 of Shelter-in-Place, and everywhere we look trees are blossoming.
I was walking with Freya on-leash, while Ezra rode his bike slowly alongside. He’d take meandering turns and circles and figure eights around me, just so we could stay close in conversation.
I was thinking quietly to myself as I walked. After a minute Ezra commented, “Mama, you have your worried face. What is it?”
I shook my head, “No, not worried, my love. Just contemplating.”
Ezra circled his bike around close to me, and asked, “About what?”
“Oh I’m just thinking about my work in the world at this time. And about my writing.” I replied.
Ezra asked, “You mean about how can you possibly get anything done when I’m home all the time? And when you need to help me with online school and give me so much attention all day?”
I chuckled a little, tenderly, and said, “No, I actually wasn’t thinking about that part, right then. Are you thinking about that part?”
He nodded, “Since the quarantine I’ve needed a lot of attention because I’m so social. And since I can’t go to school and see my friends, I need to be with you. And sometimes that makes you feel stressed to not have enough personal space to write or to do your work, and I feel bad about it.”
Now he was the one with a worried face.
We turned to head up the hill, and Ezra shifted gears on his bike, standing up on his pedals to meet the challenge. My heart ached a bit to feel what he was holding, as though his need for mothering and presence and attention is a burden.
I said truthfully, “Oh my love. Getting to have this abundance of time with you is really one of my most favorite parts! Yes, it’s a huge adjustment and sometimes I get overwhelmed. But honestly, I really LOVE how this is giving us so much special time together. Don’t you?”
Ezra beamed at me, and said in a sweet, funny voice: “Yes. Actually? I love being with you so much, Mama.”
I smiled back at him, and said, “It’s amazing how we’re getting to know each other even better through this quarantined time, isn’t it?”
He rode a big swooping circle around me, and cried out, “Yeesssss!”
We reached the top of the road, and turned right to head towards home. Suddenly Ezra slowed his bike to a standstill, and said, “Shhh Mom… listen!”
We stopped, opened our listening, and suddenly we heard sounds carried on the wind, up from the heart of town, whoops and hollers, hundreds of people standing on porches and balconies, banging on instruments and pots and pans, calling out in solidarity of support and appreciation for our healthcare and front-line workers, letting them all know how grateful we are for them.
Ezra grinned at me, “It must be 8 PM!” and then he let out a loud, resounding whoop. I followed his whoop with a high-pitched “Woooohooooo!” of my own.
Soft tears came to my eyes as I felt the bright thread of goodness and kindness and interconnectedness flowing through humanity in these heart-stretching times.
I could almost hear the ripples of whoops and hollers echoing in neighborhoods from Oregon to Washington and California and all across Europe, where the #MakeAJoyfulNoise movement originally began.
Ezra made piercing eye contact with me. “It’s like our whole town was never so in love before the virus came.”
My heart throbbed a bit in my chest, and I replied, “It’s true.”
Then with a twinkle in his eye, he announced, “I’m gonna ride FAST all the way around the block, and I’m going to beat you to our mailbox.”
“Are you serious?!” I laughed. “Okay~ we’ll see!” We both knew it would be easy for him to beat me.
He zoomed off, and I strolled even more slowly. Freya took her sweet time, sniffing all the smells along the side of the road, and I didn’t rush her. I wondered at the bright pink spread of light washing across our evening sky.
And soon I heard the whoosh of Ezra’s pedals, pedaling fast to beat me home. I could hear him giggling in the cool dusk breeze, riding as fast as he could, loving his moment, loving his challenge.
I thought to myself: every single moment is a call to deeper love.