Monday, March 14, 2011

Butter and Japan

Tonight I took the girls out to eat. Dinner started with an otherwise routine adjustment period of negotiating seats; removing sharp silverware; analyzing potential water spillage patterns and arranging water glasses to minimize soaking children; tucking away the unused-ever-at-our-table wine list and asking the waitress for just two more minutes. Bread was dropped off at our table, just in time to tame the hungry toddlers, and I had a flash of annoyance when I noted that the butter was frozen solid. Don’t restaurants realize frozen butter is completely unspreadable, thus rendering is useless? This always bothers me, frozen butter.

Almost as quickly as that thought entered my head, I thought, what the f&ck is wrong with me? Annoyed by frozen butter? How petty and insignificant and trivial and stupid when measured against real problems in the world.

There are so many real problems to choose from, but the earthquake/tsunami in Japan really struck a nerve in me. Maybe because I see my sister-in-law and her sister’s face in the faces of the Japanese women and because I see my niece and nephew in the faces of the children. Those Japanese genes are powerful. The footage makes me cry. The coverage makes me angry. I have officially changed my “homepage” because I am annoyed beyond belief that CNN makes me watch a 30-second commercial before I can watch their video reports. Really, You are going to try to sell me a car before I can see the story about the man who escaped the path of the deadly tsunami with his three-month old child? Or the report about the mother who ran to get her son from his kindergarten class and book it to higher ground? Or the residents of a home for the elderly, sitting dazed in hard plastic seat, with looks of the saddest sadness etched on their faces? And, that video making the rounds on facebook, with the sirens and the view of the horrific water sweeping away a town, will give me nightmares tonight. If I can sleep. It’s almost 1:00 and I’m still up.

Haiti and Chile and Australia and New Orleans (so poorly handled), all recent victims of horrible, terrible, unimaginable natural disasters. And now Japan. I don’t mean to get all John Lennon and peace-y but, wow, what a different world this would be if we used our armies and resources and money and budgets helping people devastated by natural disasters, instead of “wars” and “defense.” Why can’t we mobilize our armies (which include such much needed people like doctors and nurses therapists and social workers, in other words: People who care for people) for powers of good?

It’s all so heartbreakingly sad. Tonight, after a perfectly perfect day with the girls (play school, store school, play date with a friend, dinner out, couch snuggling, book reading) I was even more grateful for home and safety and no sirens. Avery fell asleep in front of my eyes (looooong blinks to peaceful sleeeeeep) as I lay with her in her bed. And Madeline, who, an hour after she went to bed, came out into the living room and asked me for a just one more hug. Tiny, perfect moments.

Pictured above, scenes from the weekend. We tagged along with Nicole on a work trip to Boston. I am constantly amazed that my two girls have two different personalities, because I, too, sometimes fall into that trap of thinking that just because they are twins, they have the exact same personalities. Madeline’s fearless in the water. Absolutely fearless. She just jumps in, goes under, and comes up laughing. Avery loves swimming, but she requires a little more support. She will do everything Madeline does, but she needs a little more hand-holding. Just look at the looks on the faces before Nicole dunks them….Avery is so serious and focused, and Madeline is so excited and happy. Every day they teach me that mothering must be dynamic, detailed and focused. And end-user specific.

1 comment:

K J and the kids said...

Beautifully written. You have so much to be grateful for.
I have to find a balance. It's not that I don't know what's happening out there. The natural disasters the rapes the murders....I just have to remember like be grateful for what I do have. To not let the sadness overwhelm me.

Great pictures. Beautiful family.