So. How’s everybody doing?
I had written this long, melancholy blog post tying together the first moments after 9/11 and our current state of national tension over the virus, and how it feels to be a parent of three boys in a world that sometimes feels a bit too teetery, and then I decided: this isn’t what the world needs right now.
It’s not what I need right now.
So here’s a story about poop.
A couple days ago, I called home around four to let whoever was there know I was going to go straight out to dinner from work and they’d have to scutter along without me. I chatted a bit with T, told him the schedule for the night, and then B got on the phone. He was miffed that I wouldn’t be around to… I don’t know, do all the things?
We do have a bit of an evening routine that’s important to both of us, but it’s totally appropriate to deviate once in a while—however, he remains unconvinced.
About 20 minutes later, I get a call. It’s B. He’s panicked.
“Bill just ate a candy wrapper and I can’t get it out of his mouth.”
Bill is our bearded dragon. Bill has anger issues. Bill is deformed because we didn’t provide the right light early in his life, and we all carry a lot of guilt over that. Bill is our favorite hairless creature.
And now he’d eaten something he shouldn’t have. B was on his own, T having left for play rehearsal.
“Did you try tweezers?”
“Yeah. It’s not working.”
“You know what? He’ll be fine. Lizards eat stuff they shouldn’t all the time.”
“Yup.” He can’t see me through the phone, but I’m furiously web searching “bearded dragon eat plastic” and “bearded dragon eat paper.” “Make sure he’s got plenty of water, okay?”
He’s not convinced. I can tell. But I have to go. I wanted to stop at the grocery store before meeting my friend for dinner. There’s a sale on canned corn.
I’m shutting down my computer, packing up my bag, trying not to glance at headlines yet again, when I get a text.
It’s a photo.
Of lizard poop.
B: Come on Bill.
Me: Ew? Is that poop?
B: Yes. How do I clean it?
I tried my best to steer him toward the paper towels instead of the cloths we usually use for cleaning, and we signed off and I headed out, stocking up on corn and coffee and then getting to the restaurant and telling my friend about the poopy text. She’s a nurse – she had a bunch of poop stories of her own. And a booger story. And for an hour and a half, there was no virus. There was no canceled trip to France. No worry about basketball practices. No internal counting of the packages of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer.
There was just gut-busting laughter at poop.
And this keeps proving to be the answer. As we spend more time with greater physical distance between us, we have to grow closer in our minds and hearts. Text the people you love. Check in via email. Send a poop joke.
I’m with you all.
Dearest b, your word for next week and my wish for you is health.