I’m Smiling for My Friends, The Children, and the Earth
April 4, 2022
by Dr. Plastic Picker
It’s Monday morning at 632am, and I’m sitting at the kitchen table that has been thrice handed down. It’s my mother-in-law this morning instead of my father-in-law, as she is boiling something on the stove. The blue light of the fire on the kitchen range is something that defines my morning. It’s either lemon tea, porridge or water for their coffee that is the focus of the first fire. At some point we will need to get an induction stovetop as it does not make climate sense to burn methane (natural gas), but it’s on our to-do list. The parents-in-law are getting their COVID 2nd booster today. My mother-in-law told me, and I had heard from Mr. Plastic Picker already. Eventhough I already knew, I have learned to be quieter and listen to her and nod. Ask her a short question to make sure I knew that she knew I cared.
It’s a quiet weekend because the vibrant energy of our daughter is out of state, on a once-in-a-lifetime for most children school trip to Alaska. We try to raise her the way we were raised, without too much emphasis on material things. But both her parents are doctors, and her little private school enabled me to be a working mother and figure out motherhood and taking care of other people’s children. She’s turned out well, and is a credit to herself and her family. For her the once-in-a-lifetime trip for most children is still special, and she appreciates these opportunities that she is given.
I’m smiling this morning, but smiling more quietly. I’m smiling mostly for a close friend whose eldest has been accepted and going to UC Berkeley. Many friendships that start at work are complicated, because the practice of medicine is complicated. My relationship with this friend is complicated. But my joy for this family and this child is so true, and I’m soaring with them that this particular child was able to do it – and overcome obstacle after obstacle thrown in her way and her family’s way. Life is unfair. We are all fighting for equity, but we are not there yet. But this is 100% a win for the world but more importantly, I’m thinking of just my friend and her pride and her mothering and her doctoring. I write too much for most to notice, but if you are reading this – know that you are one of the people I most admire in the world. And I am happy for you and your baby.
And I’m smiling today for my babies too. All my babies. My own children, the oldest who is asleep and will be driven to school for only another month or so before he gets his own car. I’m smiling for the little children in my practice, as my heart is wide open now – to play and to laugh and to smile with them in clinic. I’m smiling for the earth. And I’m smiling mostly for myself and another mommy doctor, because it’s really hard to raise kids when you are tasked with taking care of other people’s children. And somehow via different paths, we figured it out. Both of us. All of us.
Let’s figure out together how to take care of now the earth.