the power to power off
In the middle of spaghetti makings, and a lightening storm, we lost all of our power. Electricity, heat, and a hot meal - all gone. Within minutes, Aaron came home from work and said he saw a cloud of orange light rise and disappear over the entire neighborhood. That's pretty cool. But so was my spaghetti.
Thank goodness for Chipotle. My guilt-free fast food joint was still powered to dish out veggie burritos. Dinner was done and Ava asked if she could watch tv.
Me: "It doesn't work. We don't have any electricity."
Ava: "I can fix it." She turns the power on and runs to the couch to get comfortable. Nothing happens. "Oh" she says quietly.
The next hour, we amused ourselves with the flashlight and spun its light in circles on the floor and walls for the kids to chase. Like moths, they gravitated towards the candles lit on counter tops. We watched them flicker and sway with our breaths and then puffed them into smoke over and over and over again.
Our sweaters no longer kept us warm as the temperature in the house continued to drop. Aaron made a fire, and I gathered our warmest blanket, reading pillows and some books, to cuddle with the kids a few feet away from the fireplace. What usually takes us 45-seconds in the microwave, took Aaron 30 minutes to heat up a bottle of milk for Noah over the fire. Aaron was so sick that night, but some how managed to take care of "our needs" first. After he fell asleep on the floor, the three of us talked, read, and listened to the rain pour above us. Ava pulled out the fishing game and played with Noah. After a few rounds, we cleaned up the fish, and Ava pulled out another game, only this one had no batteries. No sound. No excitement.
Lacing cards - The last time she used her cards was the first time I bought them for her, maybe 8 or so months ago while on a road trip. But this particular night beckoned for something like this. Simple. Relaxing. And free of over stimulation. Lacing her string around the seal, she patiently finished and started a new one. Eventually they both fell asleep underneath my arms, and I closed my eyes. And before I could dream up plans for tomorrow, the lights turned on.
As if switching on a vacuum cleaner, sound rushed into our home within seconds. The hum of the heater, the refrigerator, and spotlights overhead buzzing - sounds I never paid attention to before, were suddenly too loud. I couldn't help but realize just then, how lovely it was. To think, talk and play in simple silence.
This revelation was honestly humbling. To think about how times use to be. And how children sat around a fire with their parents in the same room, doing simple things. This evening was so peaceful, and brought a natural calmness over us all. I couldn't help but declare - power out hours are the way to go.
We don't take our amenities for granted. Instead, we take the absence of them for granted. We live in a time and perspective where silence and simplicity is rare and the real luxury.
Although the thunderstorm was responsible for this wonderful evening, we do have the ability to experience more times like this at home. I have finally declared: we will have these kind of peaceful family nights again soon - breaker switches beware...