I grew up on a family farm in North Missouri. I remember waking up early and hopping on my bike with my brother. We would head to “the reservoir” as the sun was coming up over the rolling hills of our small town.
“The reservoir” was really a large lake that, at one time, had provided clean water to the city of Milan. By this time, it was only a good fishing spot and water hazard for the golfers on the nearby course.
It had an old boat dock covered with rocks of all different sizes that were perfect for tossing into the water.
I went for the bigger rocks that would provide an audible “kerplunk” upon my best toss into the water. The satisfaction of the splash was important to me. My brother liked skipping the smooth ones across the unbroken surface of the water.
I loved to watch the ripples coming out of the spots from where my tossed rocks had disappeared. Sometimes my ripples would meet head to head with another ripple. Perhaps from a fish’s jump or from my brother’s rocks. Sometimes one ripple would overtake the other. My favorite was when the ripples would meet and bounce off each other, heading in a new direction with renewed energy, only to disappear in the distance.
Like me and my brother at the reservoir, COVID has thrown many new stones into my own lake since we have come to know this virus’s name.
The changing expectations of a “working mom” has recently come with its own ripples. Parent. Teacher. Twenty-four-seven emotional manager for angsty teens. Taxi driver. Extra-curricular activity instructor. Short order cook. House Manager. Accountant. Referee.
Setting aside the logistical challenges, the emotional toll is immense. It’s near impossible for those without children to comprehend.
Yet, I’ve learned my rocks aren’t the only rocks in my reservoir—in fact, this is not “my” reservoir at all.
While I’m busy watching the ripples of my own rocks, everybody has their own set of stones to toss into the water.
I can’t control those rocks nor their ripples. I don’t know why they are important to the person who chose them. I only know about my own rocks and why they are important to me.
The ripples from another’s rock ARE going to reach mine, as are the ripples from Covid’s stones. I don’t always get to choose who wins. Sometimes my ripple is larger and overtakes another, continuing in the direction from where it began.
Sometimes my ripple is much smaller and disappears. And sometimes, my ripple is the perfect size to meet another rock’s and change the course of both in a new, harmonious direction as far as the eye can see.
If enough ripples collide, suddenly we are making waves of change. After all, we are all in this together.