Daily Gratitude: Motherhood

Today I am grateful for motherhood; for my own mother, for the opportunity to be a mother, for the lessons learned.

Motherhood is the most challenging of relationships, diametrically opposed and inextricably linked. The older I am, the more I regret my unkindness to my own mother and the more forgiving I am of the unkindness of my children.  Maybe that’s just the way of things.

CoVid-19: It’s not what you think

If there is one thing we can all agree on about this virus, this may be it.  We just don’t understand  CoVid-19.

Even with my  background as a biochemist, I have trouble knowing what to believe about CoVid-19.  In spite of all the hard work and the progress our scientific community has made,  there are still more questions than answers. This virus is not like any we’ve seen before.   CoVid 19 just doesn’t play by the rules; in fact, we don’t know what the rules are.

We tend to think of infectious disease as following a linear, or deterministic pattern.  In other words, if I have the virus and I infect three people, then those three people infect three more, etc.  But there have been instances in which many more people contracted the disease than the model would predict. The  most well known example is that of the  61 member choir practice in Mt. Vernon, Washington on March 10 in which 53 contracted the virus and two died. Conversely, other gatherings of similar numbers, venues,  climates, and age groups did not produce this high rate of infection.   https://bit.ly/3cQcwgJ   

It now appears that the virus can  spread in clusters, some think by “super-spreaders” who are especially efficient at  spreading the virus.  But there is no way to know what makes someone a  “super spreader.”  There may be some as-yet undetermined characteristic that makes an individual especially infectious.  Or, it could be that there are not “super spreader individuals”, but “super-spreader events”  where  people are singing, coughing, exercising, etc, especially in close, poorly ventilated spaces.   https://bit.ly/33BnnYF 

Think of the virus as second hand smoke. The  closer you are, the more you inhale. So there’s no guarantee that you won’t inhale the smoke if you are  6 feet away, especially if you are in a poorly ventilated space and/or the smoker is coughing, talking loudly, etc. Similarly,  even if you are outside, fresh air won’t protect you from the spray of virus from the shouting fan next to you in the bleachers.  We can easily distance ourselves from the offending smoker.  However, unlike the smoker, the infected person may be asymptomatic, have tested negative a week ago and is now positive, or be in the first few days of the incubation period.   The CoVid positive person can look and feel perfectly healthy. 

It is true that the death rate is low and some groups are more likely that others to have a serious infection.  But recovered patients are experiencing long-term damage to heart, liver and lung as well as damage to hearing and cognitive function. Some of it appears to be non-reversible.   https://mayocl.in/3nqPTUL

And there are so many unanswered questions.  Can you get the virus more than once? Are there in utero effects?  When will a vaccine be available and how effective will it be? What will be the effect of seasonal flu on the virus?   

No one knows.  But  I do know what to do. Sadly, just as there’s no magic diet, my  only way forward is the one I know so well; masks, social distancing and hand washing.

 I am SO tired of this whole CoVid scene; the masks, the social distancing, the confinement.  But the virus is not interested in my opinion.  This is not a well-behaved virus.  

 

It breaks my heart to think about the holidays this year. But like the Fauci’s we’ll be joining our family on Zoom.  https://bit.ly/3nGPEVP

Time For A Change

 

 

Autumn has always been my favorite season.  It is a time of change, of new beginnings.  As a child, it meant  the return to school, reunion with friends, relief from the oppressive summer heat. I loved the smells, the sounds, the feel of autumn.  The rustle of wind through the falling leaves, the smell of apples cooking, the taste of pumpkin pies, the calls of the geese migrating south, the chill in the air.  I loved it all.

But this is an autumn like no other.  We are in the grip of a deadly and relentless pandemic on the threshold of flu season.  Within seven short months (can that be true?) we have lost over 200,000 lives to coronavirus in the US and ar eapproaching 1 million worldwide.  Over that same period, we have weathered devastating hurricanes, floods, and riots.  Fires still rage over much of the West coast. Unemployment is at unprecedented levels and we are in a contentious political battle for the presidency.  This is  uncharted territory.

We’re all in this together; we hear this a lot. And we seem to agree on this.  But we don’t agree on how to get out the situation we find ourselves in.  The popular response seems to be to blame each other for our problems.  It  has become a national pastime. We need only to channel surf or go on social media to find a rabid champion for our cause.   No insult, no accusation is off limits.  We wear our stubborn allegiance  like a badge of honor. Vicious name-calling, unheard of a decade ago, is embedded in the national dialog. Common courtesy no longer unifies us; we are drifting into dangerous waters.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I railed about the corrupt and self-seeking motives of a certain political group, and threw in a few unflattering slurs for good measure. Surely she agreed with my position, after all, she is my friend, an intelligent and thoughtful person. But as her smile stiffened to a grimace,  it was clear she didn’t agree.  At. All. To my chagrin,  not only had my insensitive, and face it, tasteless,  comment threatened a friendship, it  had made meaningful discourse on the topic impossible.  Worse, I wasn’t presenting a reasoned argument, only popular opinions, not even my own.

I am not proud of this behavior.  I need to change.  Uncomfortable as it is,  I need to listen respectfully to the other point of view if I want peace in my family, with my friends, in my community.

But why listen to my opponent?  Why entertain her point of view, when she probably won’t listen to mine.  And even so, I’m just one person among millions.  Perhaps true, but more importantly, being that self-righteous, intolerant person just does not serve me well.  I don’t like how it feels.

And who knows, if a few people become open to listenIng and a few more listen to those people and a few more……

Wait!  Isn’t that how the virus spreads?

 

 

 

 

HOPE IS NOT QUARANTINED

In the early days of the pandemic, it was easier to stay hopeful.  After all, surely it would soon be over.  But as the days, weeks, months drag by, as our problems compound, it’s easy to become discouraged. But as Emily Dickinson reminds me in her beautiful poem, “Hope Is The Thing With Featuers,” hope is an inside job.

On the footpath where I walk in the mornings, people have begun leaving messages of hope painted on colorful stones.  As I walk by, my spirits are lifted by these small thoughtful gestures.  And they remind me  of all the goodness and beauty in my life. Hope is always there. I just have to look for it

HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
                          Emily Dickinson, 1891

The beautiful photo was provided by my good friend Carlton, a master photographer.