HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, Dear Reader. And when you read this, I hope you will feel some sense of peace and some happiness.
I’m not counting on OUT AND OUT JOY! That’s a big hope. It’s a word I use to describe my wedding day, the birth of my children and grandchildren.
But this year of 2021, we have certainly BEEN THROUGH IT.
Some of you have lost family to Covid19. Many of your know neighbors, work partners and friends of friends who have lost someone. And loss has trickled down: loss of jobs; loss of investments (that trip you couldn’t take); loss of friendships, because of the turmoil in our government, the splitting apart of relationships because “I don’t need to be vaccinated.” Well, if you are going to be around me and my family, YES YOU DO.
I can deal with this stuff as it relates directly to me. But I get in the major “MOTHER BEAR” mode when I think that people against the vaccine, for whatever reason, might infect MY FAMILY. THAT MAKES ME CRAZY.
So on this FOURTH OF JULY weekend, I am wishing your health and safety, joy in family and friends. I also support each and everyone of you who decides to CHANGE IT UP. Maybe that family gathering isn’t for you this year. Maybe you are against fireworks, especially if they could cause fires in our “getting too warm” climate.
The one thing I might suggest, especially if you will be staying home this 4th of July: that you reach out to your neighbor. You know the one. He always helps carry in a heavy package, sometimes shovels your walk or let’s you know your car has a flat tire; she is kind to your children, arranges play dates, abides by your rules as to sweets and is always there when you need a friend or a mother, because yours lives miles away. It is that community that is built from house to house, street to street. It is that community that will do much to heal our American wounds.
Small starts are good. They will make each of us better. They will heal us.
I’m on Twitter. I like it there. If I am angry, I say so. People who are also angry, or simply agree with me, follow me. It’s virtual hand holding. Oh, I’ve had to block folks. They’d be the ones to tell me to shut up or worse. There were a few that threatened me. But I’ve decided to defend what I believe in, and I’m not silent concerning those things. Back in California, I walked out of a gathering, because the people there, in my opinion, had hardened their hearts.
Now there is Covid19–and ironically, it can bring people together. Last night a woman tweeted that her mother had died. I wrote back: So sorry. I have thanked God many times that my mother, the person who gave me more than I could every repay, died in 2013. TRUTH.
WORKING AT HOME
My mother Jinni was tireless. But now, she reminds me not to be tireless. To take care of myself and my family. To fight back at Covid. Jinni would. When I yearn for a nap, I think of her.
Jinni would sometimes walk into our living room and “collapse”, as she would say, on the dark green couch, falling instantly to sleep for five minutes or ten.
I often watched her as she struggled to get up and back to it. (My mother worked in our dining room, typing insurance policies to pay the bills.) At some point, I began to understand that she longed to have a reason to just relax, to lie there and do nothing. But for a widow with three children to raise, that reason never came. And at the end of the day, when she was “processing” what she had typed, pulling carbons apart and stamping paper and using paper clips, she would take my face in her carbon-smudged finger and tenderly kiss me.
How could I have become anything but active, when I had a mother who labored at home keeping us all perfectly safe and healthy, who settled us in school, and then one day put on high heels and nylons and went downtown to work.
Jinni might be comfortable with COVID. She’d be working at home again.
SHEDDING LIGHT ON THIS TIME
Now that many of us are home most of the time, we need to focus on things that lift the spirit: warmth, comfort, cleanliness—and also the stamp of our own individual personality. These are essential.
Our rooms call out to us and we decide to make some choices. A throw or pillow add color to a cloudy day. Books, plates and photographs provide comfort, help us decide that we are okay. We will be okay. And as we face the darker seasons, light is essential, enhances where we live. The blocks of sunlight on the floor; the rocking chair that creaks, because it was grandmother’s. The shadows, the lamplight, when daylight departs. If we have to BE HOME, let’s make it cozy, cheerful, comfortable.
Many bloggers will alert you to things to watch on television. That’s awesome. And most nights that is what my husband and I do—currently watching THE CROWN. And also the news, Rachel Maddow. I cannot begin to say how her finally being back, telling us upfront, how she dealt with her partner Susan having Covid, and almost dying—how hard that was for Rachel to tell us, how that was for us to watch. The pain in her voice, her face. Especially since Rachel has been a constant presence, warning us, urging us to be careful. She is part of why so many people are still alive, so many doctors and nurses finally got the PPE that they needed.
And there is always reading. On Sunday we get both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. We could read all day! And when we moved, almost all of our books came with us. Books are life.
“We were standing looking out on a beautiful April evening. The magnolia in the yard was cloaked in blossoms, and the rabbits that lived under the purple hydrangeas were foraging in the fading daylight. The air in the room smelled heavy with food and sweat and burning wax and Lysol and clean linen. Steve didn’t cry, didn’t speak, just held both my hands in his own. His grief was stark and monstrous behind his thick, gentle glasses. The room was silent.”
AND FINALLY: THIS IS FOR ANYONE WHO HAS EVER BEEN A LABOR AND DELIVERY RN
Go placidly amid the laboring patients and remember what peace there may be in coffee breaks. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with the unit secretary; for she controls everything…Enjoy each delivery as if it were your first…You are a labor and delivery nurse, no less than the obstetricians and the midwives; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe will fall apart as soon as you sign out. Therefore, be at peace with God…and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of shift change, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and popcorn trodden into the carpet, this is still a beautiful unit. Be careful. Strive to be happy, and don’t go home with the narc keys in your pocket.