In a week of incomprehensible actions and inactions by the chief occupant of the White House, I’ve been heartened and disheartened by the responses and non-responses to Donald Trump’s refusal to single out white supremacists and neo-Nazis who rallied just one weekend ago in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I don’t know about readers of this blog, but my new norm is to check the headlines every couple hours on my computer, stare at them for a few seconds in disbelief, take deep breaths and sometimes a five-minute walk to process, and, if I feel the world is in danger like I did a few weeks ago when Donald was thumping his chest about North Korea, start to recite The Lord is My Shepherd.
And then I look for reassuring ways to make life seem normal again: take our gorgeous daughter to hula class, or plan a mildly exhausting but satisfying family outing on one day of a three-day weekend. (I love that Hawaii observes three state holidays connected just to Hawaii in addition to recognizing national holidays!)
Or dig below the top tennis headlines to find out about the vicissitudes of careers of players who probably aren’t household names. There have been a few this weekend. Melanie Oudin and Vera Zvonareva have tasted the highs and lows of the professional tour for many years. After health setbacks and a few comebacks that have stalled, Melanie has decided to retire. She had many memorable moments early in her career when she was very young, particularly at the US Open, but she now is struggling to win matches on the ITF Tour, the minor leagues for professional players. Vera just played her first match on the main tour in two years after taking a long break to get married, have a child, and earn another Master’s degree. She now hopes to qualify for the US Open where she was once was a finalist.
I take in all this news — too much at times — and have to drink lots of water so I don’t get dizzy and start to overthink about which Democrats or Republicans may retire or strive for comebacks, about which fans may respond to them, about which sponsors — in Donald Trump’s case corporate chieftains, his arts council, and members of his evangelical advisory board — will hold true to them.
And then I go back to basics or what has become for me the familiar and beloved: family time, raising a child, checking off work deadlines.
In her retirement tweet, Melanie Oudin thanked friends and family, coaches, fitness trainers, physios, sponsors and her agent. I wonder if Donald will thank as many people when he retires. Not to overthink again, but I wonder if he might want to retire a little early rather than strive to stay on the political circuit in Washington, D.C.
I’m a ways from considering any kind of retirement. I savor what I have now: parenthood, family, a satisfying job in a great school. Like Melanie, I know what I appreciate most: a team effort.