Personal Update

I’m writing with a personal update at a difficult time for all of us. I haven’t been posting on social media because it doesn’t seem like there’s anything left to say. Plus, my feelings about everything have been fluctuating wildly; hour to hour, day to day.

I do feel a need to reach out, however. So this is a collection of random thoughts – mainly links to articles that have impacted me. Even if this post reaches very few people at a time of information overload, I hope there’s something of value to someone (perhaps just me).

First, I’m very grateful for the action that’s being taken to flatten the curve. There are so many examples of people who are rising to the challenge, making sacrifices and thinking beyond themselves. It is truly amazing how much can change overnight when we work collectively for the greater good. But….

I’m also disheartened by stories of people who are not taking the pandemic seriously. Leaders who are focused on economics when people are dying. Individuals who think social distancing rules do not apply to them.

Those who “follow me” (virtually or in person) know that my mom had a stem cell transplant and is still immune compromised. Because of that, My Mom’s Journey with COVID-19. Please Stay Home. hit me particularly hard. I admit to skimming ahead to make sure she survived (and because I couldn’t read through my tears). Still – I will read it again and again when I need a reminder (for myself or someone else) of why our action (or lack of action) matters.

I acknowledge that I’m privileged and in a better position than most to deal with this crisis. I already work from home and my sons are old enough to entertain themselves (for a little while, anyway).  Still, I’m used to my routine and my boys are social creatures. It’s going to be hard to keep them busy while maintaining peace of mind. There are lots of resources being made available, many of them listed in How Kids’ Lit Is Responding to the Coronavirus.

While I think all these resources are great, I do worry about the pressure it puts on parents at a time when we should be trying to take the pressure off. I agree with what Brooke from Slow Your Home said in her newsletter about the “added pressure of ‘making the crisis count’. We’re being told this is an exceptional opportunity to do all the things we never have time to otherwise do. Finish that novel! Learn an instrument! Get super fit! Declutter your house! Organise your garage! Knit a huge beautiful blanket! Plant a garden! Read all the Harry Potters out loud to your kids (and don’t forget to do the voices)!

It occurs to me that we’ve gone full capitalist in our efforts to recalibrate. We’ve started with the mindset of maximising our output, needing to prove our value, to stay busy, to list our achievements and improve our status. To prove that we are worthy.”

Brooke’s point is so important. This is not the time for perfection. Now Is the Perfect Time to Lower the Parenting Bar as Kimberly writes in her article for The Cut.

Now I will admit to not following all of that advice. Feeling a need to be productive (and stop myself from becoming a news zombie) I’ve updated my website (still a work-in-progress). In preparation for the release of CRISPR: A Powerful Way to Change DNA (Annick, 2020), I needed a fresh look. Plus, I needed to make room for new information while getting rid of the old. One thing I had to say good-bye to is Authors for Earth Day (thank you to my eco-book of the month partner for this great article). After ten great years, it is coming to an end.

Which brings me to my last point. Many Earth Day activities will be cancelled this year. When the pandemic is over, I wonder whether we’ll be open to changing the way we live and move in this world for the benefit of the environment. Or whether we’ll be scrambling to restore economic health and go back to “the way things were” to the point where all progress that’s been made toward conquering climate change will be lost.

Only time will tell. Until then, please stay healthy and stay home. xo yolanda