Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It Ain't Easy Being Me, Part Deux

Mollie writes:

Well, it's been a year since Millie and I fell off the deep end and took up the mantle of domestic blogging. We were both utterly convinced that we have the answer to everything (actually, we are still utterly convinced) and that no global drama isn't mirrored in the accidental trivia of a normal day in our homes.

The nice thing about writing this blog, for me, is that it provides me the opportunity to do things I haven't been able to do for years. I'm trying to remember the last time I wrote a full paragraph in one sitting once I had children. But, the opposite has occurred to me - when was the first time I wrote a full paragraph at one sitting after I had kids.

Frankly, it was when we started blogging.

So I write every day. Not all is for the blog, but it's a long unkept promise to myself that I'm finally keeping. Not that my scribbles (what's the high-tech term for scribbles?) are of any particular value, it's just one 58 year old diva ranting, laughing, snickering or just lamenting. And it's the fact that once I post something it's in the universe forever that cautions me.

Millie and I are reasonably certain that we've seen it all - domestically. Kids with seizures, kids with incredible talents, kids who are deployed, kids who fib about their homework, kids who hide their dirty socks under their beds (that is where all those missing socks are FYI, marinating under the bed with the kids' tidy whities).

So I'm watching CNN this morning (sadly, I'm addicted) and heard that the nuclear disaster rating for Japan's impacted power plant now equals that of the Chernobyl disaster. And included in the report is a clip of my favorite tight black t-shirt explaining to me about the similarities.

Back in 1986, we were living in Switzerland with our toddlers. John was on an engineering assignment and I was learning how to avoid "boil wash" on the washing machines in our apartment building (that's another blog altogether). After John's work was done, we rented a teeny tiny motor home and toured France.

We were in Versailles (in a teeny tiny campground) at a patisserie when I spotted a Le Monde newspaper shrieking the news. I beat a path back to the campground with my croissants and a newspaper, and spent the rest of the morning reading the article s-l-o-w-l-y, using my petit Larousse to translate the hard words. Once I figured out that we were in a 'red spot', I grabbed my kids from the playground and immediately insisted that they stop eating the dirt.

We returned to Switzerland where we had good friends who gave us irradiated food (go figure) to sustain us until we knew more about radiation in the non-irradiated food. Once we realized that the gloomy cloud was about to become world wide, we were in an airplane, headed to Boston where my sister-in-law (a chemistry professor, no less) kindly bit her tongue while I washed, washed, washed the kids' clothes over and over.

I've always wanted to blame my MS on my exposure to Chernobyl, but, frankly, who knows? My poor immune system could have been naturally inclined to it, or maybe it was the 3,231 tube steaks I'd eaten as a child (nasty nitrates . . .). But in any event I learned, in 1986, that you can run but you can't hide.

So when the news of the nuclear crisis in Japan was broken, I had a little pragmatic history with it, as does every mom raising kids world wide in 1986. I was more concerned with the immediate disaster (remember that earthquake and the tsunami?) than I was about the potential nuclear fall out in my own back yard.

We need to be more aware of the world we live in. We take earthquakes and tsunamis with equanimity but we panic when our disasters are man made.

We should.

I'm interested in hearing about Chernobyl, 25 years later. We all will eventually die, but, for me at least, I'd like to hear more about what numbers we have accumulated about the increase in MS, cancer, and other disorders (or decrease, though I doubt it). But even more, I want to hear more about TODAY, what Japanese moms are doing in Japan to recover from their grief over lost children, lost spouses, lost homes and lost hope. It's not that I'm a sadist, it's just that in addition to learning about nuclear waste, we can also learn about grief management, shock, sorrow and despair and rebuilding, pragmatically rebuilding, and celebrating what remains.

So here I am, a slumbering 58 year old moderately obese white female, asking the obvious domestic questions. In the end, these are the questions we all want answered. But it's settling on me that questions that start in the home are universal.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree. I had Joy in the summer of 1986 when we were living in Japan; within 2 weeks there was pretty much noplace on Earth that hadn't been touched by the Chernobyl radiation. We can all "relate" to disasters on a personal level, whether they are natural, man-made or personal.

    While I'm certain that suffering vicariously via media addiction is very, very bad for people, I'm equally certain that disasters in other parts of the world are not something to which you want to become emotionally immune. It may not be in your back yard this time, but that doesn't mean it won't ever be.


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