Celebrate the Carers February 4, 2021 4:39 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to invite you to join me in taking a moment to celebrate the carers. To me, a carer is anyone who combines feelings of love and warmth with the practice of taking care of someone or something. It can be a child, a plant, a friend, parents, a pet, a community, a home, the objects in a home. Whatever comes to mind.

In her book The Ethics of Care, Virginia Held wrote that the ethics of care is characterized by “attentiveness, responsiveness to needs, and understanding situations from the points of view of others.” She also wrote the ethics of care is not divorced from justice, but is its counterpart. Held (2006) argued that justice without care and care without justice both fail as ethical frameworks. She describes caring as the emotion of caring, the labor of caring, and the value/virtue of caring. I don't think you have to have read up on the ethics of care to recognizing caring, though. I provided this information as a reference to describe what I am thinking of, but I hope it doesn't limit you.

I'd like to invite the community to post about moments of caring they've witness (or participated in) on and off the Metafilter. Whatever definition you bring to caring, is fine by me. I'd like to invite the community to share these moments here. I'd like to invite them to recognize them on an ongoing basis by commenting about them when they see moments of caring on other parts of the site.
posted by CMcG to Etiquette/Policy at 4:39 PM (11 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

I'll start.

The Winter Solstice post (homunculus) and the Recent short non fiction story from Ann Patchett post (j810c) both lead to such beautiful writing that specifically spoke to hope in times of darkness. I feel like both posters really showed care in thinking about how people in our community might need these posts and I am so grateful for their generosity in writing these posts for us all.
posted by CMcG at 5:08 PM on February 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

There are plenty of old, and basically alone people who are very happy with basically a phone friendship. If you can step in and help, or meet enough they feel lifted and cared about, and get some bi-directional scenario, it is a good thing you can do. My grandson directed me to a woman he waters lawns for. We talk every day, the last medical thing I did for her, was to traverse the digital landsape, and make her appointment for Corona Virus Vaccination. It took me two days of trying. Once people become shut-in, can't drive anymore they are vulnerable. Her dog broke out her front window, I had a repair person there within 20 minutes, and it was done within an hour. Her handy man couldn't make it, then she didn't want to pay for the professional help, but I pointed out that if she puts a board in then it is too noticable. Then she realized it would have taken two days, and cost more for her handy man to do it. She has plenty of money, but runs out of her ability to deal with things. She is three months from moving to a mother in law being built for her in another state. I am just keeping her together, and alive until she can go to family.

Just time on the phone makes a difference to people, and I think there are local organizations that organize that stuff, if you aren't lucky enough to run across someone.
posted by Oyéah at 5:23 PM on February 4, 2021 [17 favorites]

Big shout out to the neighbors who watch out for each other: recent mountain snow and ice blocked a lot of folks in. Someone already in a precarious spot ran out of food. Within a few hours, two cars were at the bottom of their icy lane and two folks were carrying it up to the house. Someone had notified the local food pantry and one of the neighbors independently took their truck over to the grocery store. A couple cartons of eggs, a box of varied staples, some condiments and snacks, some household necessities, and a bag of dog food. (Dog and cat food in a box always warms my heart. Everyone needs to eat!)
posted by introp at 10:27 AM on February 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

Last summer I made a long-held dream of mine come true and started a free garden with herbs and tomatoes and beans and a painted rock saying "help yourself" in my front yard. Best thing I think I've ever done in my life no joke.

Caring for that garden kept me (sort of) together, and was something I needed to do for myself. What I didn't anticipate was the many expressions of gratitude from people in the neighborhood. People verbally thanked me every day when I was out there weeding or cutting bouquets for the "free bouquets" bucket. A few people left cards and letters that made me cry and I'm honestly tearing up right now thinking of them. There is a convent a block away from my house, and I (a non-religious person) had never interacted with the nuns in the 12 years I've lived here. That changed with the garden. The nuns came for bouquets almost every day, and a woman who works at the convent told me that the nuns were enjoying giving the bouquets to each other. It was the coolest thing to know that the little posies I loved putting together were being shared and passed around.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that when you care or perform a caring action for yourself, you often end up affecting people in ways you wouldn't otherwise.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 10:38 AM on February 5, 2021 [63 favorites]

What a lovely idea.

I'd like to share two:

A friend of mine (who also occasionally hangs out here on MetaFilter) cares for his community and his world in a number of ways: he volunteers as a Buddhist chaplain at his city's public hospital; given a flexible job, he uses his time to do volunteer contact tracing; he puts a lot of energy and skill into organizing to elect more Democrats; he puts time and money into the climate change organization he thinks is most effective. He highlights good art (visual, written, musical, all kinds) and goes to performances for his own enjoyment, like so many of us; but in conversation it comes out that he also makes an effort to be a patron of the arts, supporting artists financially as part of being a caring lover of the arts.

The second person is brainwane: aniola turned brainwane's long run of MetaFilter posts about excellent short science fiction stories into a an ebook and a spreadsheet and an html page. brainwane turned a love of wonderful stories into a long series of gifts to us here. I have been gradually shifting my shock-and-despair-news reading into one or two of those lovely stories a day (there are more than 70 stories in the spreadsheet, and more in the threads here that didn't end up in the collection - and MORE if you follow links to other works by the authors), and so my days have been touched by joy and sweetness and deep pleasure in the ways skilled writers use words. Sharing something you love with your community, with care and thoughtfulness, is a marvelous gift of caring.

To my friend, and to brainwane: thank you for doing the things that are who you are. I'm glad you exist.

CMcG, thank you so much for this wonderful invitation.
posted by kristi at 3:11 PM on February 5, 2021 [11 favorites]

When I broke my knee, my roommate found himself thrust into the position of Home Health Care Aide and handled the situation with a degree of grace, sensitivity, humor and support that I flat-out cannot thank him enough for.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:23 PM on February 5, 2021 [13 favorites]

My friend who works in hospice help me see that what I was feeling was grief and that I had a right to feel that way for my loss. Her help still sees me through, months later.
posted by CMcG at 5:48 PM on February 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

Local tv news story about a 4 year old who has become pen pals with a knight statue, called "Sir Donald", via his owner. It's a nice story, but also significant to me because "Sir Donald" is named for a deceased friend of the owner who also was a friend of mine.
posted by gudrun at 7:46 PM on February 5, 2021 [5 favorites]

My brother's puppy. He's a lunatic at times and treats the home as an open sewer but little dude is also a joy and given me more hugs and kisses than I can recall. If someone makes taking walks in the freezing winter an okay thing, that someone is precious.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:09 AM on February 6, 2021 [6 favorites]

My not daughter woke me up early this morning because it snowed. Her take on that was that we should take both trucks and pick up or replace volunteers who couldn't get to the soup kitchen this morning. In spite of everything, she is unflawed. We had other stuff to do that would have directly benefited her and this is what she wanted.

She will probably read this later so let me say again that I love her.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:30 AM on February 7, 2021 [11 favorites]

I made it a point in late 2019 to speak to both of my neighbors, and exchange contact information with them. So far, I've gotten a text from my left-neighbor, asking for a lemon to complete a recipe (I have a lemon tree). I dropped off a small bag of lemons on their porch. I noted that right-neighbor's wife had left a small Macy's bag of purchases next to their car; I rang the doorbell and placed the bag on their stoop.
posted by JDC8 at 10:11 PM on February 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

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