It's all a bit dire at the moment. Exponential Covid cases and deaths rising, Wellington protestors plumbing toilet waste directly into council pipes, Putin invading Ukraine and threatening activation of the nuclear "deterrence" system. Even the puppy's toilet training is going badly.
So it was a blessing to see two wonderful posts on Facebook this morning. The first was from a friend who's added a lovely but challenging little boy to her family. It was a series of snapshots of the family enjoying the summer together – ice creams, fishing, walks on the beach.
The second was someone sharing this special quote from author Arundhati Roy: "To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget."
The world right now is a hard place, although perhaps it is like that most of the time. But sometimes it's easier to look away. So the challenge is to find the moments of joy because they are still there.
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There is also a challenge in managing our access to the information superhighway. We can feel bombarded with information and images that, if left uncontrolled, can be unhealthy. Social media might have given me a couple of lovely moments this morning, but it needs to be turned off too. Constant updates and refreshes to see the latest Covid case numbers or outrageous behaviour in Wellington is not wise.
Some of us, like me, feel better with lots of information, so it is also good to use our online encyclopaedia to find answers. It helps me feel confident with decisions, whether it's keeping the boys in school (or not) and planning ahead if we do end up with Covid in our household.
I've found out that there are no real barriers to keeping the boys home from school when there are Covid cases at their school, thanks in part to a helpful phone call from the Ministry of Education locally.
I've discovered some households are preventing the spread of Covid between family members by wearing N95 masks, keeping windows open and cleaning between uses of the bathroom – and of course, staying away from each other as best as you can.
Not much I can do about the Ukraine invasion but reading President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's speech gives me hope. And finally, the puppy will come right – it's just a matter of time.
• Nicola Patrick is a mum of two boys, a Horizons councillor, leads Thrive Whanganui, is a Green Party member and has a science degree.