For the first time, I think, since the mob built Sin City out here in the middle of nowhere, the Governor of Nevada has declared a state of emergency and Las Vegas has shut its doors to the world’s debauchery seekers. Thousands of enterprising young damsels no longer have laps to dance on, hundreds of illegal immigrants are without wide-eyed tourists on the strip to snap and thrust their escort advertising cards at, and the gamblers, those blessed souls that maintain they always win yet somehow manage to pay for all those magnificent resorts that line the strip: have nothing to bet on other than when this madness will end.
Our complaints are far less vexing of course. We just have three restless toddlers cooped up in the house. And four adults that constructively invest their time obsessing about conspiracy theories and political culpability. That and discussing how best to configure a single square of tissue per visit to get the best coverage. We do enjoy the memes and share them liberally, and we can go to a grocery store, a gas station, or a walk-up window for coffee, but that about sums it up.
Or, we came to realize, we can take our kids outside and play WITH them.
It’s the stuff we once heard our grandparents talk about as they wistfully pined for a bygone time. A time few can recall when a globally connected computing device in our grasp every waking moment was not required to sustain life.
But that brand of tom-foolery would involve the unthinkable, nair I say irresponsible. One would be rendered helpless and unable to absorb the latest flush of cyber waste coming down the pipe if we were to put our phones in a pocket and tune into our kids and the people around us. We checked google then discussed the risks.
We decided these are unsure times and it may perhaps be prudent to measure our resolve and capabilities of surviving something catastrophic as the absence of a smartphone in hand. Activities like making eye contact and connecting with those in our physical presence.
Casting our concerns to the wind, like our forefathers had done when they settled this great land, we loaded the family into our climate controlled mini-van and using the well-groomed highways provided, drove deep into the wilderness, got out of the vehicle, and went on a hike. Cady is four, Emma and Jesse are three so their imaginations are simply incredible. If I lean down to their level and speak in hushed tones, they find merit in any fantastic scenario I present to them. We call these little forays into the back yard and beyond, adventures. We hunt for clues, imaginary critters, and monsters or dinosaurs depending on the prevailing courage of our little trailblazers that day.
It only takes an hour or two but they talk about it for days. And they will remember it for a lifetime, as will we.
When we are home, we are coloring now, making things with PlaDoh, playing with toy cars and airplanes. We are baking cakes together, sweeping floors, and dusting the house. We even picked some lemons off the tree and made lemonade. And we are holding hands and praying with our kids and teaching them to be grateful and count on God.
I am hoping this quarantine lasts a little longer. it’s doing wonders for my kids and Ana and I are sleeping soundly and with wonderful dreams each night.
I haven’t missed the fear-mongering, the political positioning, the conspiracy theories or the stress of earning a buck. I don’t miss my phone or the anxiety it brings. There is absolutely no money coming in and I have no idea what we will do when we run out, but I trust God has a plan. My job is to fill my home with love and laughter and faith and fun, God has the rest.
The financial worries will pass and we will find something to eat and a way to clean our butts. And one day this will be a fun story we can share with our kids.
What won’t change over time is the bond we are building with them when for a while they got 100% of our time, our imagination and attention, and our love with nothing in the way.
Thank you God for even this.