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The Upside

by Cynthia Reyes

Last night, we had supper at table for the first time in weeks.  First, we prayed for all who are at risk of the virus, then we gave thanks for our blessings.

The upside of being restricted at home with family is that someone always senses when we need an uplift. Out comes a sandwich, a bowl of guacamole, or a whole meal with vegetarian meatballs, which I know is an oxymoron, somewhat like chicken balls.

We all know chickens do not have balls.

This morning, we cut slices of warm bread — ingredients (flour, yeast, water and salt) mixed by daughter, left to rise overnight, then, this morning, separated into loaf pans and baked.

The yummiest thing: fresh warm bread.

My daughter held her baby and we sang along with “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton.  Minnie and husband Richard Rudolph created the song  “as a distraction” for their baby daughter Maya. 

My granddaughter loves to dance. Yes, at 5 months old.  All you have to do is sing and move your body while holding her, and the arms and legs start to dance, while her face fills with joy and laughter.  

Daughter and I got a bit emotional as we sang along:

“Stay with me while we grow old
And we will live each day in springtime”

We knew that Minnie died at age 31 when Maya (actor Maya Rudolph of “Saturday Night Live”, “Bridesmaid” and “The Good Place”) was not quite 7 years old.

Our singing faltered at the memory, but we kept going, uplifted by granddaughter’s smiles and dancing.

“Want to go for a walk, Mum?” Daughter asked.

So we did, and passed 3 men working in front-yards. 

“Gentlemen, I’ve found a dime!” one hollered.

“That’s my dime!” another yelled from across the street.

“I was counting on that dime for my retirement!” shouted the third.

We laughed with them and continued walking.

Back home, granddaughter asleep, my husband put some cushions on the outdoor chairs. Daughter and I sat outside in “the South of France” – the name we’ve given our back garden since it’s unlikely we’ll visit the south of France any time soon.

Then, out of the blue, she asked: “Mum, how do you know what’s a flower and what’s a weed?”

We toured the garden beds. I pointed at the mint-like leaves of red bee-balm.

… describing the blooms to come

… the dark-green-brown cylindrical beginnings

of Ontario’s flower, the trillium

and my favourite early-spring bloomer, the blue scilla

… then the pesky dandelions, growing between brick pavers. 

“When I was younger, I thought you were weird,” daughter said later. “But it was cool! I learned a lot just now — what’s a bee balm, a tulip, a daffodil, a scilla and an alien.”

“An alien?” Her dad asked.

“An allium,” she corrected herself as we all roared.

Older daughter has a small garden and I love when she seeks my gardening advice. Then today, younger daughter, who, along with her husband, will likely buy their first house soon, took an interest in the garden.

Would it have happened if we weren’t under stay-at-home orders?  Maybe later, not now.

Special moments like these are the upside of a scary time. I need to mark them, and not forget them.

–Cynthia Reyes

3 thoughts on “The Upside”

  1. Thanks for the lovely flower photos, Cynthia! I was thrilled to finally see trillium in the woods this weekend.

    Like

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