It turns out my living room is a great venue for forts, with room for everyone to have their own space to watch MSNBC or Masked Singer on repeat or Wild Kratts.
It’s been a tense week, I don’t need to tell you. Really low on Wednesday when it was clear there was no blue wave (in spite of blue waffles for dinner, also only marginally successful), hopeful on Thursday, and now a long breath hold. My RGB candle is still burning.
I started a knitting project with leftover yarn, for meditative purposes. Regardless of the outcome, there will be a need this winter for everyone to have their own cozy lap blanket. Especially when some have been appropriated for the cave dwellers. We’re in for a rocky couple months, in the short term. It’s hard to look beyond that, today; but there is hard work to be done. I’m grateful for the many, including the transition team, who aren’t waiting for clarity.
One of Elliot’s first grade assignments this week was to count backwards from 30 while jumping, or challenge himself to change it up by twos from 24. And record the feat and send it to the teacher. Day one he flat out refused. I threw up my hands and let it go. Day two he cried. I yelled at him that he could do it in two minutes and it would be done. (It’s not like I was asking an old person to count backward by seven from 100 to prove they aren’t demented.) Day three he cried and moaned “I can’t, it’s too hard,” from under the pillow over his head.
I summoned my better self. “Take a deep breath. And another one. How about no recording it, no sending it to Ms. H., no jumping. Sit next to me on the sofa and I’ll do it with you.” He came out from under the pillow, cautiously.
Sometimes calm compromise works better than coming out with weapons drawn; though I confess often nothing works. And occasionally yelling works, though it’s an unsatisfactory victory, with both sides feeling bad about themselves and each other.
He did the task, successfully, insisting on doing it by twos from 30 rather than the two easier options. “Zero!” he called out. Then, “That wasn’t so hard.” I just nodded.
I know there is hard work ahead for this country. With a voice of compassionate reason at the ship’s helm, I’m hopeful we can get there, if we’re willing to try. I know our new president and his impassioned vice-president will surround themselves with bright and capable guides. I know a lot of people across the country are ready to push higher their already rolled-up sleeves. I know there are also many people saying “we can’t do it, it’s too hard, the division is too great, we’ll have to wait for control of the senate, SCOTUS is going to turn back the clock…” There is no waiting for perfect conditions. This country never has.
The racial unrest is teaching us that we can make inroads in the far too long inequality in this land of “created equal.” We are teaching each other, we are learning. And it will happen not only because of the big work; it will happen with millions of us doing small acts. All we really need to begin the work is open our minds. “Each one teach one.”
If the four year old can reassemble the world, and the six year old can count backward—and forward again much faster—this country can do the hard work. We’ve done it before. When this election is behind us, and for sure when this terrible presidency is behind us, let’s come out of the cave and start making our future a better place.
First up, defeat this pandemic so these children can get back to school! (I will miss them though. Sort of.)
As I finish this, the election has been called for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Seventy-five million sighs of relief. We can come out!
“It’s easier this morning to tell our kids that character matters. It matters. Telling the truth matters. Being a good person matters.”Van Jones, CNN