gratitude-a-thon day: who the hell knows, but this one’s for you, moms

 

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Call out to the moms. This one’s for you. This day, this appreciation, this love. This one’s for you, for being the light in a family, the up-all-night in a family, the fight in a family. This is for you and your multi-dimensional job. The one in which you play milk dispenser, cuddle machine, Uber driver, Top Chef, referee, laundress, plumber, photographer, maid, landscaper, psychologist, dog walker, doctor, cheerleader, homework helper, hand holder, boo-boo kisser, seamstress, provider of dreams, tissues and sunscreen, maker of merry, school lunches and chocolate chip cookies to die for, head of the emotional support team, kisser of tummies, tops of heads and asses when necessary,  supporter of independent thinking, fairness and the Golden rule, president of being a good person, doing for others and giving up everything you have for your brood.

You. Yup, you. The person who had no idea what this gig might entail, but went ahead anyway and now see that it couldn’t have been any other way. You, the one that is always puzzling how to do the right thing, make the best move, model the correct behavior. You, the tired, weary juggler who manages to make it look easy. You, the fearless, the extraordinary, the underappreciated, the one who actually made people inside her body. This day is for you, this awe is for you and your dedication, your tenacity, your muscle man strength, your resilience, and quite simply the world-changing, life-giving love you give. A love that never runs dry continually regenerates, and seeps out of every pore, even when you’re more tired than a person should be allowed to be unless they’re dead. You.

The Swiss Army Knife of people.

The one they call mommy, or mom or mamma. You.

The one the world could not live without.

gratitude-a-thon day 2099: this is what we do

 

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May 4, 2020, We’re still pandemicing. The president is still vomiting blatant lies on the daily and there are people in certain states that are protesting because they want to die, I mean reopen for business. The weather in New England is the stuff we wait for all year, sunny with no humidity, no bugs yet. Pure heaven. It seemed everybody was outside this weekend reminiscing about when life was normal.

The sun helps. Flowers help. And masks help, but it seems only 50% of the people are wearing them. It’s a strange time. I still wake up and wonder if I’m having one of those dreams directed by Ridley Scott that seem so damn real,  you think they are.

The longer this goes on, the more I realize that things will not be anywhere near ok for a long time. What we’re experiencing will continue to haunt us for years to come. How do we cope?

We put one foot in front of the other foot, don our masks, and move forward on whatever new paths we can forge. We hold out the past, but only the good parts, and create new ways of living that might even be better for our earth and our souls. We say thank you regularly, to people who were once looked down upon. We go deeper into ourselves and while we are distanced from those we love, we hang on to them like a dinghy someone throws you in the middle of a raucous sea, when it was clear you were seconds away from drowning. We reinvent, we rediscover, we recalibrate. We get crafty, we become frugal, we laugh more. We listen to the birds, and the dogs, and the scientists We listen to ourselves and the teeny voice inside us that says, “It’s ok, we will be ok.” We stop thinking we will ever be the old normal and start making a new normal, a better normal, a normal that is anything but normal, but in the very best ways.

And we feel gratitude for what we have, not what we don’t have. We will ourselves to begin again and be happy that we can. This is what we do when we dont know what to do. We begin again. This is what we do.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 2098:is it still today?

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Credit to Bookworm.

Day 1,093,938,837 quarantine: We have run out of vacuum cleaner bags, so we are wading in dust. We’re using the dust as resistance and calling it exercise. My Stepz app doesn’t know how many more calories I’m burning and is not recording correctly (company must consider before next pandemic). The dog looks like a miniature wooly mammoth. His hair is so long, we could use him as a dust mop, only he is so tired from all of the walks we take him on to get out of the house that he cannot move once home and collapses into the nearest pile of laundry. Speaking of, for every one piece of laundry we put into the hamper, four pieces come out. The clothes are so bored from not being able to leave the house that they are now having sex and multiplying. Use some birth control, wouldja clothes.

Some cities are opening this week. How this is a good idea I just don’t get. There’s still so much we don’t know about this thing. Also, the last thing on my mind is going bowling, but apparently, this is very important in Georgia.

The president has become a one-man parody show. Much funnier than SNL. Every afternoon you can turn on his, as Colin Jost calls it, “improv show” and watch him pretend to be a doctor. He is a stable genius, you see, and thinks we should be exposing ourselves to sunlight and drinking disinfectant to rid ourselves of Covid 19. This is the man who is leading the free world, a liar who is essentially encouraging Clorox shots for all (down at the bowling alley, maybe). Yesterday he tweeted about the Nobel prize, but spelled Nobel like this–Noble. Both of these incidents, he claims were just sarcasm. He thinks this is one way to try and make up for his shortcomings (stupidity is what I really mean here), to pretend he was being sarcastic. Only he wasn’t and as he would say if he were speaking to himself, “and everybody knows it.” Maybe he confused the word “sarcasm” with “stupid,” easy to do.

As a country, we have been orphaned. We have no leadership. Well, I mean there’s Dr. Fauci, but other than that, our president is touting dangerous medical information and lying to the public. Remember when he said back in mid-March, “We only have 15 cases and once they go away, we’ll have none.” And then, “One day it will just go away like a miracle.” The thing here is that he has been lying for his entire presidency, but now people are dying by the hundreds because of his lies and failure to listen and lead. By. the. hundreds. DAILY. (Not that I even know what day it is. You can spend all day thinking it’s Thursday and then find out it’s Friday and momentarily get excited because it’s the weekend and you think you can go out, then remember that the weekend is just like any other day now…..)

I know our economy is in deep, deep trouble, but I will always put human lives before the economy. I don’t care if you’re in a nursing home and you are very ill, you do not deserve to die alone, so that I can get my nails done, or for GOD sakes, go bowling.

As always, I am grateful for the essential workers, the medical professionals, and all the brave people who work in the hospitals. And of course, anybody who makes me laugh these days is at the top of my gratitude list. What are you grateful for today? What’s helping you to get through this total and complete insanity?

 

PS I am also grateful for the series finale of Homeland. It was so satisfying and perfectly done. Need a binge–this is a good one. You’re welcome!

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 2097: you can

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We’re just shy of six weeks here in quarantine and I’ve hit the wall.

I took the dog out this morning, which I have been doing in the very early morning, when there is almost nobody around (eery, but nice, too), and we walked by our first condo, purchased for a whopping $219K. It was lovingly and beautifully restored by the architect owner and I remember that although I felt like we were moving to outermost Mongolia, having lived on Newbury St. for seven years post-college, Manhattan for a year and then Back Bay for another few years, that what I said when we decided to take the plunge and buy it, was, “Nothing bad could ever happen to us here.” That’s how it felt, so pretty, nothing could touch us in a space so perfect.

But of course, I was wrong. It was at that address that I had three years of infertility, that Peter didn’t get tenure at M.I.T. (the best thing that could have happened, as it turned out, but not when you have a three-month-old baby and your wife refuses to live anywhere but Boston), that I lost my mom. Although every door had been restored to its gorgeous natural pine, antique windows installed, a fireplace refurbished, the floors refinished and every wall painted a serene and soothing color, the bad stuff still came. It always does. Whether you’re Jeff Bezos rich or Bill Gates brilliant, or Brad Pitt famous, or Halle Berry gorgeous, you’re never immune to the shit hitting the fan.

And although today I am in a bad mood, a sad mood (apparently a rhyming mood), I know that there are two things that prepare you for moments like this pandemic, where there are losses too many to count, where everyday heroes work at grocery stores and medical personnel are now worthy of sainthood, and we all possess them. I’m talking about resilience and gratitude. And while we may ignore them, they lie dormant in our DNA (as my yoga teacher reminds us during meditation, to remember our ancestors, and what they lived through, wars, famine, bombings, death camps, pandemics, starvation, poverty and that their blood is our blood) so we can do this, we can do anything. If people have done it before, we can do it, too. If you have ever felt happiness, you can feel it again. It snows in April and then the temperature rises to 60 the very next day. Resilience isn’t ignoring the facts, the horrific facts, it’s rolling wtih those facts, feeling them, letting them take you down even, but then allowing yourself to rise up again like you were a fucking NASA space ship. It’s facing tragedy, or road blocks, or sadness and getting up the next day anyway.  Resilience is necessary to move through, to get over the hump, to take the body blows that come. If you befriend resilience you can not only get through this pandemic, you can get through anything life kicks at your face.

Then there is gratitude. Our other sturdy best pal. Rely on it, hug it, bring it to bed with you and use it as a sleeping pill. What is it that you have? What is it that you are so lucky to have? A bed, those soft sheets, people who love you, potato chips (yes, I do believe potato chips are something to be grateful for, damn straight). Think about those things you have, those little tiny things, those enormous things, those things that aren’t things at all–friendship, love, freedom, centeredness (potato chips). Bring ’em all into your heart to remind you that you are ok, just fine, have all you need to make a bridge over those hellish waters and walk gracefully across it holding your head high.

Yes, that is what I remembered today on my walk with Riley is that resilience and gratitude are the crutches we need when we can’t move, when we are blinded by fear or sadness or both. They are steadfast and reliable. And they are present. All you have to do is ask them to come. And just like that, without protective gear, they are next to you, helping you to remember that it’s all going to be ok (ish) and that you are strong, stronger than you feel.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 2096: i hate my nose. is this my moment?

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This is how my nose started out. Who would have known its trajectory….

I have hated my nose since, hmmmm, I guess probably since 6th grade, when I had my school picture taken and it arrived back in that big envelope, which you open with anticipation, only to find that somehow the photographer had not only captured my hair, parted straight down the middle, a Glamour Don’t if you weren’t born with a classic button nose, or unless you were Cher, standing on end (EPIC static electricity head) and the perfect angle of my nose– pointing down in such a way that I resembled the Wicked Witch of the North’s less attractive sister. Really. I wish I could find it, but I think I might have, wisely, destroyed every copy. Even my parents didn’t want to buy it.

Anyway, I used to daydream of having a smaller shnoz. I used to sit and sing to the record player while I held my thumb to uplift my proboscis in hopes that it might stay that way (I know. How did I even get in to college). I prayed for a nose job. And I learned my lesson on the picture posing. If I tipped my head back some, my nose wouldn’t point down, a la my 6th-grade disaster. I think I was doing a full-on backbend in my senior photo. At some point in my 20’s I was working at an ad agency and I got a blunt chin length haircut, only to come back to work and have the creative director tell me I looked just like Barbara Streisand (I’m pretty sure I took to my bed for a few days).

Now, I would like to stop here and tell you that the truth is that given my heritage, I was very lucky in the beak department. My mother had a very good-sized nose, with an actual ball on the end of it. Yup. Truth. But it was my dad’s nose that really took the prize. He had a classic hooked nose that protruded outward about…..well, let’s just say, I’m betting you could use his nose to measure how far away you’re currently supposed to be from other people. That big. So, you know, I could have been much worse off in the nose department, and as I got older, I recognized my good fortune, such as it was.

So, you can imagine that this might be thrilling for me, to have to wear a mask out and cover my nose, right? This might well be my moment! Yes and no. It’s kind of fun having people not know what a big honker I have underneath my makeshift masks, but it’s also awful because every mask I’ve tried totally smushes my nose down so that I can hardly breathe. (Still those damn upturned nose girls have it easier.) So, it’s a mixed bag. Although, back in sixth grade it might have been a lifesaver if I’d had one on in that class photo.

Gratitude for having a healthy nose, at this point!

Purell hugs and kisses.

gratitude-a-thon day 2095: do what you can, it’s ok

 

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Is it yesterday? Tomorrow? I am losing a sense of time. And sometimes my sense of humor. And hope. And style. Yesterday on a walk, I wore a Free People bag as a face mask. Nuff said.

I keep reading about people who are doing all these crafty projects, who have ambitious goals, like learning Japanese, knitting a cozy for their car, and rebuilding their houses. I am lucky to keep the mess at bay, forage for food on sites that no longer have delivery times, do yoga, tire out my dog by walking him seven times longer than normal, watch the news, get my writing work finished and leave enough time to panic. Oh yeah, and feel bad about how little I’m getting done, while others are crafting a backyard version of Versaille.

Getting through this crisis is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re all having good days and bad and we’re all having different and difficult challenges. Let’s just stop with the productivity message, shall we? Don’t feel bad if all you can do one day is watch eight hours of The Real Housewives of New York (God love you if you could stand it, but those spoiled, ridiculous, plastic women will certainly take your mind off of this crazy-ass crisis). Sometimes sitting our hineys on the couch watching mindless tv and eating industrial-sized bowls of junk food is all we can do and that’s just fine. This pandemic is an energy-zapper. It’s bringing out our worst fears. It’s putting our anxiety into overdrive. It’s making us cranky and hungry and antsy and sad. All that takes a lot of energy. It’s ok to just be. And remember, if you’re quarantining, you’re doing something for us all.

I mean parade for you if you’re more productive than you’ve ever been, and gratitude for all those people who are stepping up and doing things to help those in crisis, but if you’re not, if you just can’t, it’s ok. It’s perfectly ok. And we here at the gratitudeathon (meaning me here at the gratitudeathon) give you permission to just make it through this thing, without feeling you have to create a museum-worthy masterpiece in bronze, or get a certificate in rug hooking, or sculpt your body into that of JLo’s. You can just be. It’s ok. It’s really just ok.

Purell hugs & kisses.

 

gratitude-a-thon day: day 21, do i have it, or am i just trying to get out of cleaning the house

 

Do, I have a cold? Allergies? “The” virus? These are the questions I’ve had the past three days, as I’ve rumbled around in bed, falling asleep like I was bitten by a tse tse fly, coughing, headachey with a runny nose. I keep jamming the thermometer in my mouth like it will come back with the answer: “You just have a cold–vacuum your fucking house.”

The thermometer is right–the dust bunnies in my house have gathered and I’m almost certain they are planning a coup. Where exactly does dust come from, anyway? How does it ball up into miniature tumbleweeds? I have to vacuum today, for the third time during this pandemic, because of course, my beloved housecleaner, Yolanda, who has been with us for the past 25 years can’t come because of the goddamn virus, as if I need one more reason to hate this deadly plague. She keeps this place together, and believe me, I have thanked her every way I can because without her we are basically living in a frat house. I will continue to pay her because she is family to us. That’s how this thing has to work.

Who knows what day it is? They all seem to be blending together. Honestly, I don’t know how it’s possible, but it seems that we have the same amount of laundry as the population of a small private college. I give my neighbors the side-eye, wondering if they’re sneaking in at night and putting their clothes in my hamper? Not really, I have the best neighbors (which does not preclude them from dumping their laundry in my hamper–hey, guys, let up, will ya).

I keep cleaning the kitchen and within six minutes, it’s dirty again. Not even kidding. I seem to be attending to plates and pots that I’ve never even seen before. “Who’s bowl is this?” I ask my husband. He’s reading the paper, reporting all the articles that say this isn’t going to be as bad as they say. He’s an eternal optimist. I put another load into the dishwasher. “Where did we get this platter?” I ask him. He’s texting his well-curated articles to our “optimism” group text. Note to self: Delete yourself from the optimism group text until your cold goes away.

The news reports are dismal. And not feeling well just makes all of this worse. And it’s cold out. Did you come here for a gratitude boost? Forget it.

But that’s ok, I’m grateful to hit the wall, because when you let yourself just go down the rabbit hole of misery, you get energized to come back up, with vengeance. Sometimes (on day 22 of quarantine) you need a little rest and rant party so you can come back and notice all there is to be grateful for. But today, no go. Today, I’m sleepy and cranky and I hate what this virus is doing to all of us (and believe me, I know I’m lucky). So, give yourself a break if you’re feeling cranky, too. It’s ok. These are peculiar and unprecedented times. Gratitude will come back. It’s never lost. Just taking a nap. Like I’m about to do. Purell hugs and kisses.