Check-in questions had gained traction in meetings before Covid struck, but they seem to be essential to building cohesion on Zoom. In a meeting the other day, my daughter Molly proposed the question, "What's something your family taught you to protect you from scams?"
It turns out that my family has quite a few stories and expressions on this topic. Molly mentioned my dad's saying, "You have a have a big ear to hear the big lie." I grew up knowing about and listening for the big lie. As a psychiatrist, I've cultivated my ear as my profession requires hearing what's between the lines.
Revisiting those sayings reminded me of others. My mother loved a saying of an organized she worked with in the 1940s in Jersey City. When people were proposing preposterous ideas, he would say, "If we had cake, we could have cake and ice cream, if we had ice cream." I don't know why this saying always struck me as so happy. Perhaps because getting cake and getting ice cream always seemed possible.
One of the expressions I am fascinated by in Kdrama is "by my side." While my image of love might be of an adoring lover gazing at the beloved's face, the image in the Kdrama is that of the lovers going through life side-by-side. "I hope you will stay by his side," Gu Jun-pyo's sister says to Geum Jan-di early in Boys over Flowers.
It is hard to notice that this was interesting and got me thinking about so many things. That is certainly the challenge of Covid, in the slow progression of days. The experience of "excitement" has to fit my circumstances. As my mother always used to say, "Oh Lord, we are grateful for small favors." I hasten to add, she meant this ironically. But Covid has taught me to say it in a new way. "Oh Lord, we are grateful for small favors, tiny bits of joy that make this day unique."