Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19 = More Quality Time

Most mornings, I am the first up in my home. My early mornings are always sacred. They are a guarantee of time for introspection, through reading, writing, prayer, composition and at times catching up with friends on the other side of the world. During the regular school year, right about the time when everyone is waking up, I am getting my work clothes on, looking for my motorcycle keys and sneaking one last sip of coffee before zooming into Shishi for a day away from the family. Thanks to COVID-19, my late mornings now consist of cooking with my boys! Pancakes with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, sprinkles, maple syrup and melted butter are somehow a favorite we now have time to enjoy making and munching on together!

After that, it's time to start thinking about lunch. I have always enjoyed cooking, but time has always made it tricky to really enjoy trying out new recipes in the kitchen. During the regular school year, cooking with the boys usually only happens on the weekend. Thanks to COVID-19, we are trying out new recipes daily! Our diet is healthier and tastier as we have been able to add new recipes to our bag of tricks.

Eating lunch together! Not only has our diet improved throughout these COVID-19 times, but also the time we take to sit down and eat together. Gosh, I am going to miss lunch with the family when we get back to school. What a blessing to sit down, each day, hold hands, say thanks and enjoy some laughs while eat together!

After cleaning up, it is time to sit back and read! Having more time to read is another blessing brought about by the COVID-19. Our older son, Owen Jazz, has become a fully independent reader. Since the virus outbreak he has moved through 5 out of 7 books from the Harry Potter series. Though I miss cuddling with him, we are proud of his growth. Thank goodness, his little brother still likes Daddy reading to him. Nothing like hanging a hammock and cuddling in for an after lunch read.

Then, it is time for Dad to get back to some Dad stuff. Thanks to COVID-19, I have been able to reconnect with music. Writing and recording songs is something I have always loved, but in the busyness of the school year, I struggle to find time for. (See video embedded below for a new project born over the Covidays alongside fellow teacher: Javier Lastres.)

In the evenings, we all come together again for a board game, night walk, a movie, a tarot reading or some songs and stories. Again, none of this would be possible without the COVID-19 outbreak. And so, though I know for many families, elsewhere, this has been a very difficult time of sickness and even death, we have been blessed by a local government that has kept our village clear of the virus, granting us plenty of quality family time.

How has the COVID changed your family's rhythms and routines?

Almas Gemelas by D-ende
From The Descent EP

Sunday, February 9, 2020

There is a yin in every yang but can you see it?

A new cycle down through the eternal spiral of the Zodiac Calendar has begun. However, the beginning of this Year of the Rat has failed to remind us of that first celebratory moment when Rat, “a long, long time ago”, leaped off Ox's back and took first place in the Great Race. Somehow, we are all feeling more like the Cat that, though once being a Rat's best friend, was pushed off the back of the Ox and into the heavy current life's river. 

The threat of the Corona Virus has certainly shifted everyone's plans of travel and play. Nonetheless, as a father, I reflect back on the last 3 weeks of holidays and allow myself to see the Yin in the Yang. I can't remember the last time we spent so much quality family time together at home. We have started and finished books we are reading as a family. We have pulled out board game favorites that we haven't used in a long time, as well as learning to play a couple of new ones. We have enjoyed nights of story around a fire and also, cuddled up in a new room in our home we designed just for song and story. Oh and the cooking! I can't forget the cooking. So many new dishes! Gosh, I wish there was more time during the year to slow down and enjoy cooking more meals for the family. 

Our kids, are aware of the virus, but their innocence and playful spirits have not been affected by it. This is our duty as parents and teachers. Through difficult times, keep an even keel. I am reminded of my all time favorite film by Italian Director Roberto Benigni, La Vita รจ Bella, in which a Jewish family is forced to survive through the terrible tribulations of the German concentration camps during WWII. The father and hero of the film, Guido Orefice, goes through an infinite amount of effort to shelter his son from the horrors they were undertaking by turning everything into play. If you have not yet seen the film, make sure to put your kids to bed early and cuddle up with your spouse for this inspiring film of superb parenting. In the meantime remember: There is a yin to every yang...even during these times of Coronoa virus threat. The question is: Can you see it? As parents, one of our many duties is to create magical times for our children, no matter the circumstances. Stay informed, stay safe but don't forget to savor the moment by exalting the Yin in the Yang.