Hello! This picture of you makes me smile… I wonder what could possibly be going on in your brain at the moment the picture was taken. Do you instinctively try things out physically, so when the time comes to give meaning to the smile — the ability to do so is there? A few more weeks and you WILL be smiling at people — and reacting to Mom and Dad’s voices. It’s such an exciting time, that first smile. Sometimes I think the reason we really can get nothing done with a newborn in the house is not because you need to be fed and held and changed so much, but because we spend so much time just looking at you. As if you hold answers in your face, sleeping or awake.
I hope todays letter makes you laugh or at least giggle a little. Some of it is funny and absurd (look it up!). But first some background. The first confirmed case of Covid19 in New York was announced on March 1st. This person was a health care worker who had recently traveled home from a country that already had people infected with the virus. This person kept herself isolated after exhibiting symptoms and authorities reassured the public. The next case in New York was someone who worked in NYC and had traveled a bit — Florida, Israel and this person had contact with a large number of people — as did his family. Our governor at the time, Andrew Cuomo told New Yorkers that the virus was indeed here, people are going to get infected but there is no need to panic. This was the week you were born.
Yet as many humans will do when told to not panic … many will indeed panic. There was a certain tension in the air at the grocery store down the street from your house. I saw people filling their shopping carts with loads of bottled water. I asked your Dad if there was a problem with the drinking water in the town, unsure why people were buying so much water. Your mom, dad and I talked about the virus and what it might mean to go into the hospital at this time for your birth. We were not too nervous but had a keen awareness of washing our hands. We might even have looked sideways at people coughing a lot, raising our eyes in concern. The stores ran out of Purel and cleaning supplies containing bleach. Yes there was no Purel to be found anywhere. All of a sudden that small bottle of Purel in my car felt very precious. Your Dad had stocked up on huge bottles of Purel before your arrival so home felt safe, or at least ready for the attack of germs. I picked up a few extra canned goods and frozen items for Mom and Dad at the store — just in case. In no way did I anticipate that I should have really stocked up for them. There was another item that people in their panic bought — and that was toilet paper. Yes! Toilet paper. I had no idea that the people in this country were so attached to their toilet paper. Stores sold out. When they got toilet paper back in stock, the amount you could buy was limited. Now I am not sure what you will think of this. Maybe you will love your toilet paper too! Maybe the thought of going without toilet paper is abhorrent to you, is indeed a cruel fate. It did not really bother your grandma. We could conserve our toilet paper if needed, we had tissues and paper towels if the situation became desperate and of course we had running water. But people were very concerned about their stores running out of toilet paper. If you are the kind of person who cares, I suggest you keep tissues with you at all times! If you are not and you run out, you could ask a neighbor who stocked up on toilet paper for a roll. There may be a few people using the toilet paper they bought during the pandemic for the next 10 years or so. They may have rolls in their house that were purchased the week you were born. Yes people were buying multiple packs of 12 rolls at a time. People are funny! And apparently fond of their toilet paper in times of crisis.
This panic buying and hoarding of supplies really made grandma think. There is a fine tension between wanting to make sure your loved ones are taken care of and making sure people you do not even know have what they need. But there IS enough, we need to see that this narrative of scarcity does not exist here. And does not need to exist in the world. There is enough. If we do the right thing for our world there are enough resources if we are not greedy. And what is more important … the people around us or having extra? We are all connected, life on this planet does not need to be a zero sum game. I hope there is a reckoning after this pandemic, I hope that we can finally see that we are all connected and that our piece of the world within us matters. It matters to the people who love us but also matters to those we do not even know and to the ones coming next.
Will write more tomorrow Devon. Love you!