Both girls woke up last night having had bad dreams. Big Sister dreamt of a cat that turned into a tiger. Scary enough. But Little Bean’s nightmare was about eating. When I heard her crying and went to check, she was still dreaming and crying and saying, “I want to eat now!” I had to stifle a giggle. When woke her up to settle her down, she was still upset that she couldn’t eat right now (at 3am) but luckily settled for some water.
During the quarantine there were moments of relative peace and quiet, even of boredom felt around Europe and parts of the USA. There was some togetherness about it. It was the first time that many of us were doing the same thing at the same time.
Now that things have begun to open up, the chatter and dissent has gotten louder again. It feels like the whole world is just out of sorts. Everyone seems to have woken up after a night of bad dreams.
I’ve heard in recent days a wide variety of feelings from friends and relatives, ranging from fear and anxiety, to the idea that we’ve all done our part and now we’re done. It’s weird. I never felt like I was doing my part. I guess we were. I guess…But mostly I think we were just trying to prevent further damage and shorten the life cycle of this whole thing. The phrase “Do our part” makes it sound like we are doing something purely for someone else’s good. But that’s not true in this case. We were doing it for our own good.
And everything continues to be so politicized. It’s like you’re either a believer or a non-believer and then you act accordingly. Somehow politics, instead of being separated from religion is a religion.
There are plans to reopen theaters here and half the seats in the house are removed. On one hand it’s a relief to see the dancers and musicians getting back to work. But with so few audience members will theaters be able to afford to produce performances? Today someone shared an image on social media and many artists made comparisons to airlines, questioning (and rightly so) why there is a double standard. If you can sit for two hours on a plane less than a meter away from a stranger, why should the rule be any different in a theater? Saying that flights are essential and theaters are not is shortsighted and discriminatory. Flights are essential for some people and the theater is essential for others.
Then there is this latest devastating episode of police brutality in Minneapolis. I keep kind of trying not to read about it but it is something I just can’t let go of and yet something I can’t do anything about.
Finally we all have a common enemy–this Covid-19/Corona Virus. Finally an enemy that doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender, creed or economic status. We got the common enemy but still we can’t unite. We’re still killing people, we’re fighting about nothing, we’re forgetting the most needy among us. We’re turning the common enemy into a political game. Why can’t we stay focused? Why can’t we at least just be more humane?
So I’m sitting down to write tonight with a heart full of conflict. In the face of all this, it seems somewhat insensitive to wax poetic about child rearing.
And yet maybe there are things we can do to counteract such ugliness. We can continue to create a world where we would want to live. To raise loving, empathetic, curious people. To keep fighting those difficult battles with our two-year-olds, and loving them even harder. We can keep buying the tickets to the ballet no matter how few they are selling and we can keep going back to the beer keller, even though we have to wear masks and sit further apart. Just in doing these things, we are creating a movement, we are creating the future we want to have.
In that spirit I can ask if you wrote your favorite moments from today on your heart. And I can tell you that I did: There were those few seconds this morning while we ate croissants together–Little Bean trying hard to spread her own jam on before giving up, just licking the jam from the knife and stuffing the croissant in her mouth. There was watching her figure out how to pull her self up on the swing and then the thrill of finding the lizard in the garden. All these moments were wrapped in the typical package of hysterics and total defiance, never ending requests and Big Sister’s endless management and control of play time with Little Bean.
If anyone is set to take our world in another direction, it is Big Sister. She spends entire days masterfully trying out technique after technique to getting Little Bean to do what she envisions.
The point is we cannot falter in the face of adversity or hate. We knew that coming out of this quarantine was our chance to create the new normal not settle for whatever was given to us. The task is ours now. We have to keep loving, we have to keep seeing, we have to keep going.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate,: on love can do that. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.