It’s just that 2021 didn’t feel very different than 2020. It’s just that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. It’s just that time stood still and flew by at the same time (which could explain my lack of writing for 6 months….sigh….). It’s just that the world feels a bit more nutty than it did a few years ago and I lost my ability to process through writing for a bit.
So when the world argues about how best to handle a pandemic, I find my voice as an advocate for the health of children. I find myself speaking up at local school board meetings (even if they won’t listen to physicians) and speaking out on local news (even if it just matters to my patients – “hey, doc, can I have your autograph?”). It’s been a tough year wading through the constant streams of COVID close contacts, testing, information, misinformation, selfishness and politics. There are ways to make our kids feel safer and prevention is key if we’re ready for it.
So when the world seems scary due to repeated threats on schools, I patiently explain to school staff what a “trauma brain” is and how even if the threat is not deemed to be “real,” it sure is real to children who are hyperreactive to threats based on brain wiring. Thirty years ago, we would never have worried about a school shooting or written an excuse note that reads, “X is staying home from school today because he is super worried about a potential school shooting.” It’s been a rough spring and fall of school juggling the boys, but they are hanging in there. There are ways to make our kids feel safer and prevention is key.
So when the world seems hectic and confusing, I take the boys on a mini-break to the middle of the state and allow life to slow down a bit. We play mini-golf and enjoy ice cream. We splash in the river and get sore muscles from skipping rocks for hours. We make s’mores and talk about the farms and vast land around us compared with the tightly packed neighborhoods we live in. There are ways to make our kids feel safer and prevention by understanding ways in which we are all the same and all different is one of the keys.
So when the world struggles with reconciling the racism and discrimination that is ever present, I seek to find ways to be conscious of my actions and those of my children. I facilitated small groups of medical students learning about racism in medicine and reflecting on the book “Medical Apartheid.” And when a swimmer calls out to my son, “Hey, there’s a black kid in the lane next to me; someone hand me my phone to call the cops before he shoots me,” I don’t sit idly by and say, “Knock it off.” I take the situation as high as I can to educate others about how powerful those words are. There are ways to make our kids safe and prevention through anti-racism can go a long way toward helping kids feel loved and valued.
And as we approach a new year, I sit with The Little Guy beside me (coughing up a storm, but COVID negative times two, repeated at home more than 24 hours apart), Mr. Ornery is in bed upstairs resting from the mild concussion he gave himself yesterday ice skating backwards super fast, and Super Tall Guy is hanging with friends (as all teens should) for New Year’s Eve!
In the midst of the craziness….we plant flowers….because that is the way we make the world a more beautiful lovely place.
My focus: Power. Strength. Love. Connection.
One day at a time…being aware of the power and strength within myself to love others and build new connections.
May your 2022 be filled with much Peace and Joy as you plant flowers.