Vivian got to celebrate her 13th birthday in Japan. Evan was really looking forward to celebrating somewhere fun. But that was in the Before Times. On his big day a few of Evan’s friends called in on Zoom after school. Family sent him texts and emails and cards and Auntie Beth sent a gift. And later that evening, his Grandma and cousins and aunts visited and we sang happy birthday outside, standing sufficiently far from other familial units, and we ate ice cream cake.
Poor Evan knows that we live in more complicated times now. But also simpler times. We stay at home. About 3 million people have been diagnosed or tested with CoVid. Two hundred thousand humans have died. A third of all diagnosed infections and a quarter of deaths worldwide so far are in this country.
But Evan is lucky. His life hasn’t changed very much from when we were traveling. A couple of hours of school in the morning followed by Jo’s three C’s in the afternoon – create, connect, and contribute. His contribute is to load and unload the dishwasher. We tried to get him to wash dishes or use a broom but he succeeded in doing everything badly – perhaps his strategy to get the easy foolproof jobs. For connect, he and a friend Zoom each other and after a few moments of what pass as niceties for 10-year old boys, they settle into playing video games together. Evan’s create has been fun to watch. He goes to the Inktober website and finds a word from their 2019 list and sends it out in a group chat to his grandma, aunt, and a few of us. And during the day we send in photos of sketches of whatever that word inspires us to draw. We’ve been doing this for about a month, and it’s been fun. Most of Evan’s sketches are from the universe of Minecraft, but hey, a boy needs to get his inspiration from somewhere. I’m enjoyed sketching too. Here’s my entry for “ripe”, and homage to the $120,000 banana taped to the wall at Art Basel last year.
Jo got Evan a hoverboard for his birthday. He had tried his cousin Cade’s a couple of times, and apparently when you are ten that is all it takes to learn. The first time he came down the hill on the driveway he was tentative. But now we joke that he is going to forget how to walk. He uses the hoverboard to get everywhere and balances like an expert. I tried and stayed on it for one femtosecond before I violently succumbed to gravity.
Evan – you will remember 2020. But I hope, along with the gloom that will tint the memories of this year after it is long past, I hope you remember some of the fun stuff. Staying in bed and reading till 9am. Zipping around the house on your hoverboard. Inktober sketches. The mask your grandma made for you. The first three months of traveling. Zooming video games with Luke. Walks with your family. Donuts from Sweeties. Wildflowers.
Happy birthday dear boy and all the very best!