It was the year that the-best-babysitter-on-Earth introduced me to frozen grapes. I don’t remember much about the way she actually looked, but I remember the way her energy felt: grandmotherly, kind, and patient. When I skinned my knee, we would head to her garden to pick aloe. She must have been tall because I remember her fire red hair swooping down from the sky to teach me how to harvest it. She had polio as a child and it made her move slowly. I loved this about her. She always had time to stop and look at things.
I could not look up at them chatting. It was summer and the sun was filling my eyes. Instead, I looked down at the weeds thriving between the cracks of the sidewalk and wondered if aloe could grow there. My mother's car keys jingled in my ear, but I knew these end-of-day pick-up conversations were never short. They were talking about Russians again. With great abandon, I was digging the weeds out and had an impressive pile of dirt to show for it. Then someone said something about war and I latched onto that word.
I turned 6. I was still thinking about that word. Sometimes I could not sleep. When I did, I dreamt about awful things. I never told my mom, I am not sure why.
Dear friend, please be so careful what you say in front of the children and how much news they consume. Glennon Doyle writes about a time she reached out to a friend for advice about mothering through times of tribulations. The advice was “Glennon, your family is together on an airplane right now, and there’s some serious turbulence. The kids are afraid. What do we do when we’re afraid on an airplane? We look at the flight attendants. If they seem scared, we panic, too. If they seem calm, we stay calm. So what I’m telling you is that you are the flight attendant in this scenario, and you’ve been through enough turbulence to know you’ll all make it. Your kids are new to flying, so they’re going to look to you to see whether they’re okay. Your job right now is to stay calm, smile—and keep serving the freaking peanuts.”
I know you know the things. I know you got this. Pass the peanuts and please take care of yourself - we are in for some turbulence.