Self-isolating was never in me or my mother's dna. The condition is embodied in a term, I've come to find out, called 'FOMA,' the 'fear of missing out.' For us, it was the fear of missing out of any experience that may educate, enlighten or thrill us. It may be a lecture, a special talk, an exhibit, or something simple, like a walk in a garden.
Because of her condition, isolation became a way of life. Thank goodness for the web, where my mom could be fueled with interesting informative adventures late into the night and into the morning hours, and later when her computer skills diminished, her exhaustive library, on every topic. And then, there was the garden. Perhaps it was her Depression-era pragmatism that encouraged her to grow out the snipped off portions of green onions, or maybe it was her thrill of independence from consumerism. We monitored the white sapote tree that volunteered from seed every year, to see if it was "the year" for the bumper crop. The stories of the various plants were repeated as if new every time- the need to find the sweeter Mexican oregano since the one she got from Home Depot just didn't measure up; the Sweet Aztec mint she brought back as a sprig from Mexico.
But if there's anything my mother taught me, it's that the experiences to learn, be enlightened and thrilled, happens at every level of our existence. With the current forced isolation because of the Covid pandemic, life has slowed down, and I allow myself to take off the glasses of frenetic pressures that only allows large matters to be seen. I allow myself to remember the pace of thoughtfulness and feel the magic of adventure in the small things, embodying my mother. I pour over her papers that were stashed into bags and piles, more morsels to be devoured in the adventure of life. I carefully arrange the objects on the shelves that represent the memories of people and times gone by, soaking in the thrill of their existence. It is the experience of joy, and infinite love.