Even Creme Puffs are a lot of Work: So Is Love, Raising Activists/Teenagers, and Saving the Earth
January 11, 2023
by Dr. Plastic Picker
Last weekend was the weekend of the Creme Puffs. Our baby (who is 14) decided to make 150 creme puffs. These were hand-made and hand-delivered by said 14-year-old. The creme puffs turned out wonderfully, but all the recipients were not exactly who were planned. We let our natural relationships and who actually likes creme puffs and who lives near us and who responded to emails timely, dictate to whom the creme puffs went to.
She thought the creme puff baking experience and delivery were disappointing, but now that we are a few days from the actual creme puff delivery – all I can say is that they were an absolute success! The actual creme puffs were light and airy and delicious. And unbeknownst (did I really use that cool word) to her, the intent of the creme puffs reached their destination and there is a lot of humor and good will between two families right now. The actual children are not really aware, but two families are aware. We are at a good place in our family pseudo-kdrama, waiting for two people to go through the pangs of adolescence.
But the entire creme puff episode reminded me that even creme puffs are a lot of work! I thought Mr. Plastic Picker and I were destined from the first meeting, but I had forgotten the years of friendship and all the encouragement and support our parents and friends gave us. We tend to recreate our own narrative, and I had written out in my mind all the others that supported and encouraged our relationship on the way. It’s funny the perspective the decades gives you.
Raising teenagers that will embrace adulthood and meaningful work and meaningful relationships is a lot of work as well! I think Mr. Plastic Picker and I are doing a decent job of things as we get our son through his senior year and our daughter through a more challenging freshman year than we expected (not academically but the entire social dynamics of being a teen girl). They are two funny and loving teenagers, and their lives are more nuanced and complex than I ever understood. But I love having the time to hear the changes day by day, and witness them and sometimes participate in their lives. These teenage years is absolutely absolutely beautiful. And one of the joys that climate work has given me, is being more present for them – more present to see the adults they are becoming. The particulars I’ll keep close to my heart. I have a rosy view of the world these days. Remember I’m the litter-picking pediatrician that believes I can save the earth (along with you), so of course I believe in the happy ending of the 100+ episode family pseudo-kdrama. Allow me my dreams dear reader, it keeps this climate activists going. And they are innocent and actually I think helping everyone.
But yesterday was an epic climate day. We had our first meeting of the 2023 Public Health Advisory Council for Climate Actions Campaign. I’m still trying to figure out my leadership style, or my co-leadership style with Dr. Katie Crist. And at the end of the day, the results are the truth and we had an engaged and dynamic PHAC meeting. So many beautiful faces and talking about advocacy. Our group feels closer together, and we have a lot of shared projects that we are doing. PHAC is going to gather at our home soon to talk climate and health, and eat vegan food!
Also yesterday I pushed forward the shared event with San Diego Audubon Society and our HMO. It had been in the back of my mind, but at yesterday’s meeting we hashed everything out and I think it will be easier than expected to bring our two organizations together to help with the upcoming Least Tern nesting season. More to come!
And the youth and climate art exhibition is going very well! The premed interns are really knocking it out of the park with their work. So proud of them. Hopefully today I can find a gallery space for us to show the children’s work.
Doing a lot of climate work here. I didn’t go to an HMO department gathering where it sounds like there was a lot of fun to be had. But honestly I have no regrets and don’t think about it much. It honestly did not sound that much fun to me, and I’d rather spend time with my own teenagers and I have more than enough friends in my life and don’t need anymore – especially if they aren’t climate friends. So I didn’t go. But I’m honestly glad everyone else had fun. Middle-management meetings seem so far away these days. I’m happy I’ve drifted off to climate work, which I’m much more suited.
Happy rainy day to California. I’m off to take care of some minor medical/dental things as I need to take care of myself so I’m taking a preplanned sick day!!! Yes I am. And you should too! We get dental coverage for a reason, to take care of your teeth! You don’t have to have a sob story to explain taking a sick day. Your health is your business so take care of yourself! In my world, no explanations needed. I trust you to love yourself.