San Francisco, California

Further than we’ve ever walked

From Alice Bartlett’s blog, weak notes, where she quotes from an entry of Feminist Friday:

This week my thoughts have particularly turned to parents, and to parents who are working from home while their kids are under their feet and bored. I am sorry if this is you and good luck with it all. It reminds me though of a time that I very vaguely remember – I must have been three or thereabouts. There was a time when, for no clear reason that I could see, my dad was in the house way more than usual. He’d take me for a walk every day, along the little river at the back of the estate we lived on. One day we collected watercress and took it home, and my mum made soup with it. On another day, we walked through a gate that we’d not been through before, and I said “is this further than we’ve ever walked”, and my dad looked at me and smiled and said “yes darling, this is further than we’ve ever walked.”

Absolutely halcyon days. Perfect.

Anyway, recently – maybe 18 months ago – my dad said to me, “you were very young, but do you remember when [employer] was making everyone take unpaid leave for two weeks at a time and me and you went on those walks along the burn?”. It made me realise that these times of, for me, absolute magic, must have for him been conducted at an incredible pitch of stress; one small child, another on the way, a mortgage, suddenly half the salary you were expecting for a month.

Where I’m going with this, I guess, is that when you talk to your kids about this in the future you might say “do you remember that time of plague, when everything was awful and so stressful” and they will say “you mean those amazing times of unfettered ipad access and you were always there bringing the funtimes, they were beautiful, it could have lasted forever.”