What do you get when you put two immune-compromised adults and an energetic teen mourning her senior year in a small loft during a pandemic?
Luckily, for us, life as usual.
Through our 25 years of marriage, there have been five moves, four houses bought, 11 jobs, a genetic disease resulting in chronic pain, self-medication and three rounds of rehab, middle-school bullying, breast cancer and, yes, the pandemic…
We always say that "we Liptons always get up and get going..."
Resilience. A characteristic I ensured we all built over the years and one which has served us well during 2020 — a year so far of racial violence, divided politics, murder wasps, UFOs, a vicious election, destructive forest fires, 200,000 dead and alas, the death of RBG.
Then there are the usual life things — a far-away son, finding himself and supporting himself; a teen struggling with her gender and sexual identity, that same teen really struggling with America as a racist institution and with the trauma of being thrown to the ground and pepper sprayed at a peaceful vigil; a husband struggling with how one of his co-morbidities, diabetes, affects his legs, his balance and me, struggling in general.
As a mother, I suffer from what I call "hostess with the mostess" syndrome, which means I stress myself out trying to make sure that everyone has what they need, are entertained and happy all of the time.
Ridiculous, but there it is.
I find myself worrying over crochety husbands and pissy teens, feeling useless when I’m too tired to cook and like a bad mom when I want to be alone.
And the longer this pandemic goes on, the more tired and insular I become.
Food and cleaning and bills and... and... and... can all become meaningless in the face of our social, cultural and political realities.
But we know, even now, we must play the long game, and be limber enough to battle on many fronts, including personal malaise.
So my daughter and I do a daily tiktok dance. My husband plays his many, many, many odd instruments and collects more. I crochet and do embroidery and a daily Top 5 on LinkedIn that helps me make sense of everything. We try to cook together. We read. We listen to music. We give each other space or hugs or jokes when needed. We remind each other about washing hands and wearing masks, and because sleep is difficult and scarce, they have followed me into daily naps.
It’s nowhere near over and I worry. But I worry knowing that we Liptons always get up and get going.
Rene Huey-Lipton is based in Seattle, Washington and is the founder of The DAME Collective. www.thedamecollective.com
The DAME Collective aims to tackle two prominent issues in today's job market: ageism and sexism. By connecting highly experienced women (AKA “dames”) and potential employers, The DAME Collective hopes to break down stereotypes of age and gender in the workforce by proving one thing: Each year we are more, not less.