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Fridays Are For . . .

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Several weeks before everything shut down for the pandemic, I had a little cavity filled at the dentist . . . and there ended up being just a tiny bit of "roughness" that would catch the dental floss every time I flossed my teeth. Not a big deal, certainly. But an annoyance. I made a quick appointment to have it smoothed out at the same time I was due in for my next cleaning at the end of March. Canceled, of course.

So I finally got in to get that little "roughness" smoothed out . . . a couple of weeks ago.

While I was waiting to go in for my appointment, masked-up and alone in my little distanced area of the waiting room, a mother came in with three kids -- all ready for their annual check-ups. There was a big brother, who was probably 8 or so, and a little sister who looked to be about 5, and a baby brother being carried by his mother in a front-pack. (I'm gonna guess he was 12-15 months old; probably walking - but needing to be "contained.") Everyone - except the baby brother - was in a mask, of course. And these kids were beautifully behaved. They sat still and quiet and waited, looking at books they had brought in with them. Nobody fussed or whined.

Except the baby brother.

He was fussing and agitated. He wanted to be in a chair with his big brother and sister. He wanted to be free of the front pack.

(Or so I thought.)

You know what he really wanted?
His face mask!
As soon as his mother put on his tiny, toddler-sized face mask . . . he calmed down. He wanted to be like his siblings, darn it. He wanted his mask on, too.

And then I was called in to get my rough edge smoothed out. But I was comforted by the scene I'd just witnessed.

It gave me hope!

Why? Because to these kids (including the baby brother) wearing masks is . . . just what is happening right now. It's just another of those things we need to do to keep ourselves and each other healthy. An inconvenience, but workable. Even for young children.

The kids are alright.
And that gives me hope.

==

And, because it is Friday and Fridays still seem to be for poetry around here, here is a poem for you.

==

The Thing Is
Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold your life like a face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you again.

==

This poem reminds me that even when we think we just cannot, we usually find a way to keep going. Dig deep, my friends. Keep looking for hope in the dark spaces.

My best wishes to all of you . . . for a weekend filled with peace and solace, time to rest -- and things that bring you joy. (And maybe some poetry, too.) 

Don't forget to look for hope.

==

Today's poem was published in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson, 2017, Grayson Books.  Information about the poet can be found here

 

Comments

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Carole

That's a heartwarming story and a beautiful poem. Jackie takes the mask wearing completely in stride, he's modeling what he says and I think that's awesome. I might even take him to the grocery store with me one of these days. (might. I don't know, it still feels like it won't be fun.)

Chloe

Loved the little mask story. I know a little toddler who was thrilled to get her little toddler mask. But at two, it was still too big for her! Now I need to find a smaller mask. Although we are seniors we do - while wearing masks - eat at outdoor restaurant locations occasionally. The personnel - mostly young - are professional, enthusiastic and very uplifting. They often “make our day” when very little else does. We wash our hands, use sanitizer liberally and find the mental health experience to be very valuable. We may both just be lucky enough to not be that susceptible - knock on wood! - so your mileage may vary - but I just want to give a shout-out to this brave little industry who go the extra mile each day to provide sunshine to those who need it and help keep a few, at least, businesses afloat during this challenging time. Hope you don’t mind, Kym! To us, it’s a lot about balancing physical vs. mental health. (of course, now we’ll probably both end up in the hospital.)

Juliann

Our 3 /2 year old grandson likes wearing his mask. I have heard so many adults lamenting the idea of kids wearing masks but they do seem to take it in stride. And I live these lines
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
Thanks Kim

Bonny

And the children shall lead us. My throat has felt filled with silt and grief has thickened the air that I'm breathing, but I've got it pretty good, nobody in my immediate family is sick, nor am I, and I'm here. Poetry and hope — thank you!

Vicki

Junah loves the mask I made for him with Captain America fabric (left over from last year's pillowcase project), and Ginny has a little one in Mickey Mouse fabric that matches one of mine.

Margene Smith

Ellen Bass is a poet I love and this poem is appropriate in so many ways. A friend just lost her mother and I think she will like this poem. Thank you.

Kat

Vivi wears her mask and when she sees someone without their mask, asks her mom quite loudly "where is their mask?" Ahh, children, lol!

Beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing!

Vera

What a beautiful poem and what a beautiful story of your visit to the dentist office. Children are so resilient which is a wonderful thing!

Chloe

Oh I love that line to love life even when you have no stomach for it. I always think of the proverbial starving children of India and China to remind myself of how good I really have it. Chloe

Sarah

The way kids (well, young kids) are dealing with masks really gives me hope that all is not lost, even when there are idiot adults out there shouting about how wearing a mask infringes on their rights. My own kiddo has been enthusiastic about making masks because she sees them as the newest fashion accessory. Last year it was all about the scrunchies; this year, all her friends are expressing their individuality and creativity through the masks they wear. While it makes me sad that they have to wear masks, it is encouraging that they WANT to wear them. I think kids understand better that wearing a mask is about caring for others.

Jane

Little ones are very smart and adaptable. Of course it helps when they have good models. They take wearing their masks in stride. How nice to see children well behaved in the dental office. They are my hope for the future.

kathy b

This is a fantastic post. Im sickened by my in law relatives that show off their gatherings unabashedly on Facebook.. No masks. . No cares in the world. NO sense. No compassion. ugh.

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