A few weeks into quarantine, my mom wanted my three siblings and I to get on the trampoline and recreate an old picture.
In the picture, we are all in various stages of jumping: My sisters, Cayden and Ashtyn, are up in the air, arms spread wide. My feet are on the trampoline; maybe I jumped too soon, or maybe I was just worried I would flash the camera because I was wearing a skirt. My brother, now 13 but then an adorable toddler, looks like he’s about to bounce on his butt.
My mom wanted this picture recreated as closely as we could, but when we all got out to the trampoline, we couldn’t jump. It might’ve harmed the bird on the trampoline.
This was not our bird, but we could tell it was someone’s pet. The bird was comfortable around us, and especially loved the shoelace on my Converse. Because we didn’t want to crush the bird as it bopped around the trampoline, our recreation just featured us sitting on the trampoline.
We shared photos on social media, hoping we could find its owner. People confirmed it was a parakeet, definitely someone’s pet, but no owner had claimed it.
My brother, apparently a bird whisperer, coaxed the tiny bird into our big dog’s kennel. Someone from the local Humane Society was coming to get the bird, so we couldn’t let her get away. Or get eaten by our dog.
Later, after the bird had been safely retrieved, on its way to a new life— as a nice family’s pet named Blueberry Swirl— I noticed a stinging feeling on my elbow and looked down. I had a little strawberry burn, a less extreme version of what I used to get when I played softball.
Hm, I thought. I wonder when’s the last time I got one of those.
A few days later, one of my siblings called me outside. I walked out of the garage and on to the driveway without pausing to put on shoes. When I came back in, the bottoms of my feet were coated in black from the asphalt.
I wonder when’s the last time this happened, I thought again.
I realized then that quarantining with my family has, in a way, taken me back in time. It’s given me a chance to slow down and appreciate little things and even do some things I thought I grew out of long ago.
I know that I’m very, very lucky to be able to view quarantine through this lens. Many people are struggling in many ways, and last week I wrote about how we all long for the days before this began and the days when this will be over.
But, in an effort to be more content with how my life is right now, I’m trying to notice these little things and be thankful for them. Like taking more walks around neighborhood, and saying hello to my elementary school principal as he walks down the opposite side of the street. And sitting in the big comfy chair in the living room as my dad flips through channels, landing on a really good tribute concert to Garth Brooks. And making s’mores with my siblings while sitting on our back patio, making sure my third s’more didn’t get snatched by our dog like my second one did.
When the big things in the world are so scary and heartbreaking and confusing, I am thankful that there are still birds and chocolate and friends in low places.