This adorable photo from Sadje’s What Do You See # 115 inspired this double nonet. I thought the form lent itself to the idea of a meeting between two different entities.
Writing this poem made me think a lot about other encounters I have had in the past years and how they’ve changed. Making small talk with a stranger used to be so easy, but now, this act seems “risky,” fraught with suspicion and caution. Do I strike up a conversation with the unmasked person in line with me? How do I do that if they can’t see my smile behind my mask? How do we signal to each other that we are open, “curious with gentleness” – that we want to get to know them and not to judge them? Tenderness and compassion seem to be in such short supply lately. When will we realize that we all share in a similar struggle?
Here is my second response to Sadje’s What Do You See #51 photo prompt. This double nonet focused on the stars in the background and depicts another aspect of parenting during a pandemic. This one is has a “happier” tone. (Yes, I am making an effort to not be so doom and gloom on my blog. Cue rainbow farting unicorns…or not…)
I’ve been trying to make sure that each of my kids are getting some one-on-one time and that we are doing some special things to break up the monotony. I think everyone can agree that the feelings of anxiety, helplessness and isolation have increased during the past six months since pandemic safety measures have been in place here in the USA. And it doesn’t look like these precautions are going away any time soon – numbers of coronavirus cases are again increasing all over the country.
This pandemic – this entire year of 2020 – has been anything but normal. But, I have this crazy idea that, for my family, I want it to be special for positive reasons as well as negative. I want my kids to look back on this year and say, “Yes, we missed a whole year of ‘real’ school, we missed being with friends and family, we missed out on family trips and extracurricular activities, but….we got to stay up late and watch movies, we made some really yummy meals together, I learned a new skill, I started a new hobby, my siblings and I made up cool games, I realized I loved doing laundry…” OK – maybe not that last one, but I can hope…
And that’s the other thing I want my kids to remember from the year 2020 – that there is always hope, that they are resilient, and that together, we can still make the world a better place.
But not-Yay for the “inspiration” for this poem. It’s been a very hard week for “virtual learning” aka “learning from home,” especially for my younger daughter. She misses her friends and dislikes feeling that she is missing out on all the fun stuff of school. Yes, tweens can experience serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Our Montessori school has been playing “catch up” with technology since they were not a high tech school to begin with. Coupled with some internal dysfunction that often arises during times of crisis, her school wasn’t meeting her needs academically or otherwise.
This made my sensitive girl very upset – she excels in school and the feeling of disconnect was very destabilizing for her. Despite her attempts at communicating with the teachers, nothing was done to address these problems. While I certainly sympathize with the stress and pressure that teachers are currently under, no one – NO ONE – has the right to disregard and disrespect my child.
Mama Bear drank some coffee and readied for battle.
If you are a parent, you know the pain of witnessing your child be in pain, whether physical, emotional or mental. Sometimes they have to endure it – sometimes they should endure it (especially if it is an outcome of a bad decision on their part). But as a parent, if I can protect my child from pain or take it away from them, I do – I have – and I always will.
Maybe this makes me one of those entitled parents. I feel that parents of color (as well as parents of kids with different abilities), when we are advocating for our kids, we are often seen as entitled, demanding, troublemakers. Unsurprisingly, another child (white, female) who was experiencing the same issue as my daughter, had her concerns addressed compassionately and immediately. You don’t want to think about what other factors might come into play, but that is always in the back of my mind. I wanted to make sure my girl knew that even if racism was in play, that she shouldn’t settle for something less than what she deserved.
In the end, we did reach a resolution and hopefully these improvements will be implemented next week.
Mama Bear will be watching…..
I could not post this on September 11, 2020 and not pay tribute to the lives lost on this date, 19 years ago. Like most people, I can remember where I was when I heard the news about the first plan crashing into the Twin Towers. I remember everything about that day.
Growing up in New York, I have very fond memories of the Twin Towers. I’ve lain down on the pavement between the towers and watched the sky turn behind the towers, making for a dizzying and awe-inspiring experience (this is what nerdy high schoolers did back in the day). I’ve been to the top and marveled at the busy beauty that is New York City. The news reports, the pictures of the horrors of that day are now also etched in my mind.
I love my Papa. I am his favorite daughter….OK, his only daughter….but I am also his favorite debating partner. My dad and I are similar in so many ways and this is probably why we debate/argue/quarrel more with each other than he does with my other siblings.
My dad always held high standards of morality, values and principles. He passed that on to me, although sometimes we look at these high standards from different sides. So we see things in a different way and approach problems/issues in a different way. Although if you look at the underlying values of these approaches and points of views, you would see that they are the same. You might even ask, why are we even arguing?
The fact is that despite our similarities, I am a different person than my dad. I’ve had experiences that my dad has not. Some of these experiences are because I grew up middle class in the USA while he grew up upper class in the Philippines. Other experiences are because he is a man and I am a woman. Still other experiences are because he was born and grew up in a different era than I did (almost a quarter of a century separates us).
The red cup – a fixture in pictures
My focus yet blurred in my mind
Strong and sweet – the fake message
Scared and silenced – the truth
It matched everything
Or so I thought
Toss the cup
Where can I drown
This fear of living
Who can I reinvent?
Lost for so long in the mix
I need to climb out of the rocks
Where is the hand holding the red cup?
Nowadays, the cup I hold is usually a coffee cup and not the ubiquitous red solo cup of parties past. With all the stress that has been brought on by this pandemic, I’ve seen many memes about parents drinking more to deal with the kids being home with them all day, having to help their kids with school work, having to work from home – the list is endless for all the issues that a large glass of red wine (my drink of choice) could fix.
I worry though when I hear my friends joking about drinking at noon after struggling with their kid to do math or about going to the bathroom or closet to get away from their family so they can drink. I have a friend who jokes that once the shelter-in-place is over, they will either need weight watchers or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or both. At least I hope they’re joking.
Because drinking to deal with stress can lead to a drinking problem – especially if the stress is daily and constant and they are drinking daily (and constantly) to deal with it.
Because drinking (whether it is viewed as a problem or not) will affect their parenting including how their child sees (and learns) how to deal with stress.
Because whether it’s eating or drinking, this behavior doesn’t get rid of the problem and in fact, can just exacerbate it.
Yes, I’m speaking from experience. Yes, I feel the pull to fill up a red cup now – especially in light of recent losses and especially after reconnecting with some friends from college who I did a lot of drinking with (is it weird that we all reconnected because of dealing with this pandemic?).
The season of Lent has begun for Christians and it is marked by fasting, almsgiving and prayer. Instead of giving something up, I’ve tried to do more – more praying, more helping, being kinder, being more compassionate, giving more whether it’s monetarily, physically, emotionally or mentally. Laurie, a fellow runner, from Meditation in Motion wrote a great blog post about this. I think this practice has helped me have more hope in the world. Especially with everything going on right now. Ghandi said it best, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
A late entry for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #212 – Expanse. As 2019 draws to a close, I felt a need to describe my feelings about the upcoming year. A year seems like such a long time but the day to day living makes it go by quickly. Even these last two weeks have sped by. Every night, I’ve been asking myself, “What did I do today? Where did the hours go?”
I’m hoping to savor 2020 a little bit. The first decade of the 2000’s have brought so many changes and I feel like I need to take some time to re-evaluate what has happened, what I’m doing and where I’m going. I hope you stay with me on this next journey around the sun!
I have never been a “sporty” person – I was usually one of the last people picked for teams and I was definitely the last person to finish the mile run in high school (collapsing at the end just to prove how unsporty I was!). I didn’t even know my high school had a football team until I started dating one of the players. And I only learned about the rules of the game when I started watching football in college.
My first foray into sports was running which I discovered in my early 30’s. I figured if I could walk, then I could run since putting one foot in front of the other didn’t seem to require that much coordination or other athletic ability. Yeah, right. Still, I was smitten by the race medals and the opportunity to have some “quiet me time” when I ran. As my family can attest – I am a much nicer person after a run!
This is my husband’s Aunt Le who shared with me her experience about how their family escaped from Vietnam – “boat people” they were called. I love listening to her stories and learning from her. Her strength and resilience is inspiring. Her memories and sacrifices will be remembered – I will make sure of that.
This poem was written for Pic and a Word Challenge #161 – Remembrance. I don’t know if Patrick picked this word because it coincided with the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I but it bring to mind war and the repercussions of war. We often remember soldiers but forget about the other people affected by war, the people not involved in fighting yet still affected by it – refugees, peace keeping forces, doctors who help the injured, children. The effects of war are generational – for people, society and the environment.
People thought WWI would be “The War to End All Wars”. Unfortunately, this was not true. Our world continues to be plagued by wars and conflict that has cost millions of lives and displaced millions of people, wars that result in generations of trauma. When will we be able to stop killing each other so the pain and sadness of war will truly only be a memory?