I really expected these days to drag by while we’re suspended in the days of COVID but, they haven’t. We’re in the 8th month of 2020. I still need to put together my list of August releases. I should have it up by the end of the week.
August is my dad’s birth month, the 8th day of the 8th month. When I lived in Taiwan, I learned that they celebrated Father’s Day on 8/8 and it made so much sense because ‘ba’ means ‘8’ and ‘ba ba’ is ‘father’. So, ba/ba is Father’s Day and it makes so much sense be to me, because it’s my father’s birthday.
I loved my dad, and I really miss him. He would definitely be a good companion and a source of strength here in this 8th month of 2020. He and my mom were children of the depression, him being urban poor and her being Mississippi country poor. Between the two of them, they had every kind of making do covered. Dad would worked, hit the sales and arranged our finances while mom would sew, cook, network and they would get their family through anything.
I think I got a lot of my down to earth reasoning from my dad. I can remember when it looked like I was rekindling with my ex (long story for another day) that my dad told me never to go back in life. My dad wasn’t one to concern himself with my concerns, so I had to consider this bit of advice, and I still do.
“You can’t dip into the same river twice.”
So, why do people keep talking about things going back to normal?
And, whose normal?
Black women’s ‘normal’ isn’t white woman’s ‘normal’.
Lesbian ‘normal’ isn’t cishet ‘normal’.
Toledo OH ‘normal’ isn’t Los Angeles ‘normal’.
Asian American ‘normal’ isn’t Latinx ‘normal’.
A deaf person’s ‘normal’ isn’t a hearing person’s ‘normal’.
There is no singular ‘normal’ to go back to but you know what? Moving forward might not create a singular American identity, but it sure could help us understand each other a little better.
My dad’s not coming back; that ‘normal’ bit of my life is gone. I notice that my memories of him change as I age, as I misremember some things and again when I discover some new bit of information that explains things in a new light. Yes, even the memories of him change.
My dad is the one who instilled a love of reading in me, my brother and my sister. He filled our home with books and routinely took us to the library. I really don’t think he was empowering us with reading simply for the sake of reading, though. I think he wanted us to be literate in every way possible, so he took us to museums, parks, zoos and even to Cedar Point. He knew he wasn’t always going to be with us and he knew the world would keep changing. i don’t think he had any idea that it would change quite this fast, but he did get us ready. A normal childhood? No, just my childhood. As I write this, I’m realizing the privilege of memory and how that positions us to dictation ‘normal’ for others.
My heart goes out to young parents today who have the same desires as my dad for their children, if not more. Yet, COVID has them living in isolated worlds with work, family, relationship, children and self 24/7 directly in front of them. Has there been anything written about the level of privilege it takes for young families to be able to get through this? Or, about the perseverance it takes to make it with little to no resources? No wonder people are reading so much. Again, it’s not just about the books but it’s re-tooling with information not for new types of literacies, but new dimensions. We’re locked down and the changes are coming even more rapid.
When you hear ‘normal’, ask: whose normal?
If something is about ‘us’, who is ‘us’?
And, if you hear that everyone likes it, everyone does it, know that there is always at least one person who does not. I’m that person who does not want to go back to ‘normal’.