Love, Grace and Optimism in These Times — Diary of a Baba
Posted on March 14, 2020
As we enter the first full weekend of the CoronaVirus/COVID-19 in the US, in the midst of paranoia, xenophobia, and confusion, I see love, grace and optimism in big and small ways.
Most present for me is caring for Collin and all the little ones in our lives. These times are unprecedented and I’m constantly unsure how to be a parent.
As part of our morning routine, Collin and I watch short clips of Democracy Now, which maybe is a bit intense but lately he’s been asking, “Baba, when are we going to defeat Donald Trump?” He saw a clip of white supremacist unfurl the Nazi flag at the Bernie rally this week and told me about a VERY bad white man (Hitler) from the olden times… Last night over dinner, he and his buddy shared how the preschool talked about the CoronaVirus. War, homelessness, the list continues.. He’s only five.
Intentional or not, we are witnessing a generation (his generation) that is growing up in some of the most (if not the most) vicious and destructive times for the people and the planet.
As organizers, we are trained to look for tools and curriculum but realtalk (and in realtime), there are NO children’s books or shows to prepare our little ones for what is to come in the 21st and 22nd century — we just have each other, our community and yes the broader movement. Basically, we are the architects for our own futures.
In the midst of all the noise, I know the clearest thing I can offer right now is my love and grace, my north star and eyes on the prize intuition. I def got some papa and baba bear instincts too. How in these times can we be the most centered in our purpose, grounded in our self care (not selfish care) and community care? How to we build our power and prepare and not panic in these times?
But I have to remind myself that even if our little ones are watching us and absorbing all this, they are not “waiting” for us to get our sh*t together. They are growing and developing every day. Collin is now sleeping on his own (yah!), learning to read and do math (whoa!). NOTE: We’re also very fortunate to have Collin in an awesome progressive preschool. He is excited about life and even at 5 (or 5 and a half) he’d say, he wants to be a fire fighter or pilot and change the world.
It is at this smallest unit of care, I worry the most AND get the most strength and purpose.
(Video of Collin singing a song about Donald Trump not sharing and doing bad things and also video of Collin starting to read!)
Then, I think about Mychi and all of our frontline health professionals in the community whose job it is to constantly assess conditions, the science, the news, the truth and keep calm with the misinformation and demands of poor, people of color, immigrant and refugee communities. These community health clinics are so critical to not only to our overall health and well-being but the entire social, political and economic fabric of our communities.
I think about my elderly parents, especially my mother in law, who lives with us and cares for Collin every day. For intergenerational households, these are difficult and uncertain times especially with a young child (who is constantly sniffly). As parents, we never know if we are sick or on the verge is being sick. COVID-19 may not be as severe for young children or adults but we can all be carriers to others.
My heart goes also out to people who are immunocompromised, chronically ill and/or disabled. Their voices and leadership need to be lifted up in these times as well. These are the sober realities and we don’t exactly know what is to come but they are often the most prepared.
Even in these times, I’m seeing more people coming together in beautiful ways from friends and neighbors to community organizations and good people who are self-governing and co-governing as much as possible. I’m also seeing the helpful reminders to not to self isolate in this moment and to think beyond this crisis. That emotional labor is seen and felt.
When there are moments of despair, I know we’re not alone and will keep remembering that. Thank you all for the love, grace and optimism in these times.