Michelle Martin

Time to reflect

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sunday mornings are quiet in our neighborhood.

They always have been, but it seems even quieter these days. Even the people who used to get up and go to church are mostly watching church on TV, and most everyone else seems to sleep in.

That’s especially true after loud Saturday nights.

This year’s Fourth of July, on a Saturday, featured more than the usual number of neighborhood fireworks across Chicago and its suburbs. Our neighborhood is usually a hotbed for unsanctioned, individual displays, and more than once we’ve hauled our lawn chairs to the park to watch dueling families set off fire works from opposite baseball diamonds.

They usually keep going until police roll through, using their loudspeakers to tell everyone to go home. Fifteen minutes later, they’re back at it.

This year I stayed home with the dog, whose reaction to things she is afraid of is to try to attack them. I didn’t want barking at the air to turn into destroying the blinds.

Tony and Teresa returned in short order, reporting that most of the spectators in the park had left their masks at home, and while most were trying to maintain social distance, they didn’t feel it was safe to be around so many people.

So we watched “Hamilton” on TV, and the descendants of Frederick Douglass recite the speech he delivered on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York.

Then we watched “The Babysitters Club,” because the original books were a favorite of Caroline’s and the graphic novels have become favorites of Teresa.

We ate hamburgers from the grill and decorated cupcakes with red and blue frosting and sprinkles. An all-American Fourth of July at home.

The fireworks died down after midnight, except for someone who seemed to find a new box at 1:30 a.m., setting the dog off again.

This morning, the day after the Fourth, seems like a pause, a time to take a breath, to consider where we go from here. A time to rest and renew and reflect. A sabbath.

Still, the delivery trucks keep coming. A FedEx driver dropped off a Target package on our porch on Sunday morning — Teresa’s uniform skirts for the coming school year, which we have been assured will happen. An Amazon van with packages for the house across the street. Even a U.S. Postal Service van made its way down the block, with what I assume are Priority Mail packages for someone or other.

When do they get to rest?

Truly, I could have waited until Monday for the skirts. Or even next week, or the beginning of next month.

Someday, we’ll get back on a more normal schedule. Or a schedule that we can embrace as a “new normal,” even though we might not recognize that until we’re a little ways into it.

The pandemic has taught all of us to adapt, to work at home, to put on masks to go to stores, to show consideration for our neighbors. It has taught us lessons we should not forget as we move forward, including the importance of time to reflect.



  • family life