Racism has no place in society. It is not enough to be white and quietly decry events of the last few weeks not to mention the years – centuries actually – of US history, while black Americans are harassed, detained, overlooked, disrespected, profiled, injured, accused, and killed. It’s time to speak up, stand together, and fight racism, inequality, injustice, and intolerance.
I take this stand publicly on behalf of my family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and fellow citizens of the world. I value and seek to honor the humanity in all people of color, which is something I have endeavored to do my entire life, but with an ever louder voice over the last 15 years or so. I grew up watching Sesame Street, for crying out loud, and saw nothing but beauty: no reason for hate, ever.
My heart aches over the deaths we’ve witnessed. American public education and society overall does a poor job of bearing witness to the pain of the black community and working to heal it.
No doubt, I have a lot to learn but I’m willing to do the work in big and small ways. I’m going to make mistakes with the things I say and do, and I ask for grace in the process. All I know is, what I’m witnessing in America is wrong.
We must do better.
In the words of Glennon Doyle or Hillary Clinton or whomever said it first, “There is no such thing as other people’s children.” We’re ALL God’s children, are we not?
But staying silent and letting someone else handle this battle? No more.
If you came looking for words of wisdom, I’m fresh out of those today. All I can tell you is somehow we are 16 days into social distancing here at home. Everyone is still healthy and in good spirits, the five of us. I count it as a miracle, a blessing of the craziest kind. Then again, Ohio is only just getting started.
We’ve been holding family dinner every night this second week at home and it has improved considerably from that first night, the one where my oldest was horrified to learn about my online honesty over our collective dinner behavior.
It’s a toss up: I really don’t want to share my children’s stories as those are theirs to tell, but I am a writer, and authenticity is my deal. So believe me, it’s hard to know where to draw that fine line sometimes. My story often includes them. And as I’ve said many times, poorly paraphrasing Glennon Doyle, if I share my foibles and my family’s foibles, maybe people will feel less like a freak for things not being perfect in their own lives. Consider it my service to you. Because really, whose life is perfect?
I digress… Back to dinner.
Each of us endures some gentle ribbing and there is ready laughter among the group. Nice. This is how it should be. I’m glad we got there.
We play “Categories” where you pick a category and then take turns naming something in the category without repeat or else you’re out. First we did presidents, and then our oldest wanted “famous battles” since he’s a war buff. We Louies went a few rounds…I’m proud of us, as obscure of a topic that normally is for our age ranges and interests. Even our youngest and our daughter could go a few rounds.
The kids clean up the dishes, and they even volunteered a thanks to their dad for cooking the meal. Our daughter baked cookies during the week and her older brother actually thanked her, without prompting from us. Do my ears trick me or have the fights subsided?
The boys play basketball with their dad and chess with each other. Our daughter does online ballet and Facetimes with her friends. My husband has a growing list of students willing to take online percussion classes and is teaching them, but he’s finding that each day feels like all the rest and the students don’t remember that they have a lesson.
I joked that we should start each day doing something like the Walmart cheer, except we’d spell out days of the week so we could tell the difference.
Give me an “S”! Give me an “A”! Give me a “T”!…..What’s that spell?
Then again, Saturday feels like Wednesday, feels like Monday, feels like Friday… blah blah blah.
I miss the old routine, as winded and hectic and insane it normally makes me feel until I emotionally overeat and blow all the weight loss progress I otherwise try to make. I cannot catch my breath any given day or week when we are all engaged in our normal routine.
They said I would miss it, miss that crazy schedule. Gretchen Rubin said it best:
“The days are long but the years are short.”
What I didn’t expect – at all – was a respite from that craziness, years before it was to happen.
I mean, now it’s just a new type of craziness.
Now I just wake up, sit in that chair in my home office for several hours of the day, participate in web conference call after another, thinking about how I am as disappointed in the appearance of my neck as Nora Ephron was about hers, watch the number of infected people in the world, the US, Ohio, go UP UP UP…
The US is now #1 in the world. I wonder if that’s what Trump meant when he says we’re “winning”.
That’s me being sarcastic. He’s a complete and utter disgrace. Thank God there are adults in charge elsewhere in America.
I spent the week personally connecting with people via web cam as much as possible. My brother-in-law, a cousin who was hospitalized recently for post-surgery complications, two friends from high school I haven’t seen in years and years in a first-ever virtual happy hour (highly recommended), another couple of friends who live alone, and another long-time friend who got increasingly, noticeably wistful as we talked.
Our conversation struck me the most. We talked about our loved ones and spouses who fit the early-defined category of “most vulnerable”, and strategies to protect them. What would happen if one or both of the parents in a family were knocked out for a period of time or permanently. How most certainly we would know someone who would die – very likely many – including older family members who are and are not heeding the orders for social distancing and the surprise younger people who otherwise look like a picture of health.
I heard fear in his voice, anger that some employers were putting people at unnecessary risk in an attempt to stay afloat. I sensed it in my own too. It’s almost like you can feel the Grim Reaper moving in slow motion throughout our communities. Who is he going to take next?
I mean shoot, I have a firefighter cousin who works every day with healthcare providers, other caregivers, EMTs, etc. and he admitted that several of them are “getting their affairs in order”.
Mother of God. That sent chills down my bones.
To all of them, these many essential workers, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It’s a war. We need more masks, more personal protective equipment (PPE), more beds, and more ventilators. We need healthy caregivers of every kind. I don’t see us reporting these numbers anywhere, not percentages or capacity or shortage or anything. Not in Ohio yet. Maybe they are scrambling to put it together. Maybe the numbers are abysmal and they’d rather report it when there is hope of the numbers being reassuring. Who knows? But data is key.
I hear talk of ramping up production of necessary items, but I don’t see the president ordering it to happen. Instead I hear a president in disbelief over the numbers of equipment being requested in New York in anticipation of a surge yet to come, and see him appearing to withhold the necessary aid. Are you freaking kidding me?
Why does it feel like the commander in chief is aiding and abetting the enemy?
Oh, because he is. Wittingly or unwittingly. It doesn’t matter. He is.
It will sicken me endlessly if when millions of Americans become ill and die. This did not need to happen. A leader doesn’t dwell on the “mess” he claims he inherited. A leader would go about fixing it if he thought it was a real problem.
Aaaaargh…I said I wouldn’t go there. I wouldn’t talk about 45. But how can you not at a time like this?
I did encounter a funny post, from someone who said she learned a lot about her spouse working two weeks from home during this age of social distancing. He microwaves food items for exactly 44 seconds.
When she asked her husband why 44 and not 45, his response was, “For Obama.”
The wit in things like that give me joy.
And with that, I bid you adieu while I gently coach my daughter why we will not adopt a baby otter any time soon, no matter how cute they are.