We were celebrating one of the younger cousin’s birthday, when the announcement went live.
We had been expecting it, of course.
“Well,” said the only other aunt who had showed up. “I suppose this will go down in family history as the Corona birthday party.”
We sat there, sipping our tea and coffee, while Ministers Slob and Bruins made the announcement. The room grew dark as twilight fell.
“A shame,” the other aunt said. “There was sun this morning.”
We made the appropriate sounds of assent and laughed at the sign language for hamsteren (hoarding).
Youngest son showed off a picture he’d made earlier in the day of empty supermarket shelves.
On tv the Minister says all pubs and cafes will be shutdown for at least three weeks; classes are suspended, and any gathering that includes more than your own immediate family is discouraged. And in particular, no visits to the elderly because they are the most vulnerable.
“That’s it then,” sister-in-law said. “So, I guess you should all go home.”
I found myself thinking of absurdist movies and it may sound strange, but for a moment I couldn’t help but wonder if a director would jump out of somewhere shouting, “Cut”.
Of course, this didn’t happen.
In the morning, my sons and I walk to the nearest supermarket. We’re out of bread and cheese, and we haven’t got a gigantic freezer or any kind of stockpile.
So, we walk because classes are suspended and I think children (regardless of age) need some sort of physical movement. I also believe that fresh air is good for you.
Already, the youngest son wants to know what’s on the programme for today.
I propose a short piano lesson.
“Not too long,” youngest son says. “Or else I won’t have time for anything else.”
Eldest son scoffs at youngest son’s declaration, but I promise that all we’ll do is learn the second phrase of Fur Elise.
“What about a short writing session in the afternoon?” I ask.
Both boys perk up and look interested.
“Is this going to be like the workshop you’re giving?” eldest son asks.
“Uh,” I look at youngest son. “I’ll have to adjust it a bit, but it might be fun.”
“Why not?” Eldest son says.
Today we did two small writing exercises. Afterwards, I asked them if they would like to do this again tomorrow.
It looks like we will.