[Author’s note: This piece, written during the early developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflects what we did not yet know about the virus and its transmission.]
Breakfast dessert is no longer a thing.
Pajamas are not suitable daytime attire, not even clean ones. Not for any of us. Relatedly, dad owns pants. Who knew?
The street: there’s no better place for a roaring game of scooter Red light Green Light, but wait, cars! They are claiming back your asphalt playground, your badminton outfield, and your gallery of expertly-chalked Chagalls for their treacherous speedway.
From this point forward, no one is required, encouraged, or permitted to comply with these dress codes: Backwards Clothing Mondays, Tutu Tuesdays, Two-Hump Wednesdays, Thrasher Thursdays, Forest Creature Fridays, Santa Suit Saturdays, and Socks-only Sundays.
The Fort room will now go by its former name, the Family room. Those big upholstered pieces of foam that enclosed the turret of your castle for these – months? years? who knows? – of confinement are actually called “cushions,” and they fill in the shell of a couch to make it comfortable for sitting. Because that’s what a couch is designed for — sitting.
The Mobile Virus Distribution Center that circles our neighborhood blaring tin-y tunes will be known again as the ice cream truck. Prepare for long lines and sparse inventory, but fewer snickering neighbors and near fatal side-effects.
More on function vs. full-frontal: Although costumes, curtains, the dog’s bed, the kitchen ficus, and even Mom’s clutch can technically conceal your privates, they won’t count as clothing, certainly not the type you’ll be required to wear once we can move in air with wind.
Remember when Spring Showers were your only showers? No more! Mom will be surrendering her “office space” for your future hygiene. The porcelain desk in which she submerged herself daily for conference calls is equipped with a faucet that, once you clear away the bedding and noise-canceling surrounds, spews water capable of eviscerating the face paint from your hairline. Give it a try, but watch the empties and the broken glass.
Inside the house, we will cultivate subdued hobbies, like sleeping — which we will do exclusively in beds (your own!) and at night. Family Olympics 2020 are over. Your brother took gold in 9-room House Golf. Your sister vaulted her way to victory off the bedroom dresser, and no one can Ninja Warrior a nursery like you. Congratulations to the Anarchy of Kids in Captivity for their defeat of the Democratic Republic of the Desperate for Peace and Quiet. May we never compete again.
We love you more than anything but we are not going to see you for a little while. Or a long while. This is not like when, during the quarantine, mom would take the dog out for longer walks than he wanted or when dad got lost in the shower for an hour each morning. This time you are leaving us with shoes on. It’s for school, the place where you go to ignore a paid professional for a change. You’ll love it. So will we.