A DIFFERENT TIME, SAME ADDRESS
I stopped writing my ideas because I began to believe they were only adding to the crush of opinions amid all the overload of information we received.
I am older. I’ve lived a rich, full life. I am not a technology maven.
I leave that to the younger ones ( my children and grandchildren!).
However, on April 9, Holy Thursday for us, our friends celebrated our 47th Seder together —- over ZOOM. We have raised children together, created flowers for children’s weddings, welcomed grand-babies, kept our bodies and souls together through challenging times and tonight we could not NOT be together even though we are on lock down.
We are the old ones: the ventilators won’t go to us. Yet. YET, we need each other. We support each other. We love each other. This is no normal time. We wonder about our grandchildren’s future. We want to be their positive light - their LIGHTBEAMER. But, are we naive? Are we too Old School?
Our gathering with no physical contact, made us all want more. We miss the hug, the pat on the back, the “I’ll pick it up for you”, “want to meet for coffee?”.
Will we ever return to our old normal? We all say NO. It will be a new way of living. We know a new pandemic awaits. A new social isolation will come. We will have to trust someone because in our guts we want to believe someone is in control and working to protect us. This knowledge has us all wondering is anyone person ever in control? Where do we fit? What is our role. These are challenging questions and if we do not face them, chew on them, analyze them NOW, when?
Do we have the fortitude to lead, guide, question? Do we know our strengths?
What are we able to do in our city? On our street? In our home?
We are the WE.
We are THEY.
We are called to DO.
Do = ACTION
Not being saints, being ME at my best.
What will I do? NOW?
My current actions are limited as I broke my ankle, requiring surgery, as the virus came to our land. My usual active self had to reevaluate how to participate.
I thrive on my social connections. I have to maintain that. One way - postcards.
We all have piles from places we visited. I write one a day to friends to just stay in touch. As my 97 year old mom says, “Getting a piece of mail with a note lets me know someone is thinking of me and knows I am alive.”
A retired teacher part of me wants to reach out to kids - and their parents - so I began reading my favorite kids’ books on facebook. I pretend my grandchildren are listening. It is challenging to hold the book in the right place, have perfect light, but it is fun for me. The response is positive and after each posting live, I have given some of me to some bored child who hears another voice. I include a little activity if anyone wants to follow up. It’s not Reading Rainbow, but it my little gift.
I also created THE POSTCARD PROJECT.
We have numerous postcards from our travels, my mother in laws travels, stashed away. No longer, I have 5 grandchildren ranging in age from 16-3. I send each a post card a week with questions on the back and an activity. If the postcard is a place I know they want to visit, I ask them to plan their trip, find good restaurants, what sights to see? If it is a picture of a former President and his wife I ask them what they would do if their grandparents were living in the White House? What would they want to see, where would they play, what would they eat? Would they suggest any new laws or directives? Who would they want to invite over?
An old fire engine led me to ask a lego lover to create a lego firetruck.
All the cards require a reply of some sort - a photo of what the created, a story, a picture, a call.
In a month I am taking all the information and creating a photo book for them of all their creative ideas with notes of how they survived this unique experience.
And the biggest challenge for me and the largest change I have made is to accept help. Numerous friends and neighbors offered to deliver meals, go to the market for us, throw our morning newspaper up on the porch, weed our yard. My former self would have said, “OH, no, we are OK. We can handle it.” What I have learned is to say, THANK YOU, that would be tremendous.
By accepting help I have created space for us all to connect. What comes to me, I can pass on with caring compassion to another. Both of us can smile a bit wider, feel stronger and know we are not alone in our lock down world.
And this quote reflects my belief about how to go forward.
“You don’t have a right to cards you believe you should have been dealt.
You have an obligation to play the hell out of the one’s you’re holding.”
Show up and be bold.
We remember the bold and the brave.
We remember the compassionate.
We remember the givers.
We remember those who laugh with us.
We remember those who listen.
We remember those who make a difference to us.
Tina Cole Kreitz April 16, 2020