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  • Renee Burns

May, 2020- Social unrest as a new mom in Minnesota, during a pandemic

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

This is one of the first posts where I don't know where to start. I have been wanting to write all week, but have not been able to figure out how to put words to my thoughts and feelings about being a new mom in Minnesota, the nation, the world currently.

My computer has been sitting in our "kitchen" (for all of you who have been to the cabin- you get the quotes) all week staring at me, reminding me that the weekend would come, and I would have a duty to write an update regarding the state of our family, specifically the health of our girls. However, when I reflect on how I started this week and where I am now- a very different story emerge- and it doesn't exactly focus on the health of the girls per say.

To zoom out- this past Monday was Memorial Day. We had just gotten out to our cabin and were filled with joy about getting to finally share this space with our little ladies. However here we are, not a week later, feeling "safe" and "hidden" from the heaviness we have witnessed on the news over the week- not filled with joy to be here, but instead filled with privilege to be able to be here, as well as sorrow, anger, and confusion as to how to move forward in this world as new parents.

This is how I spent my Sunday: going on a run on a dirt road through the woods- watching deer bound off in the distance, making a filling breakfast of eggs, bacon, etc...playing with, and feeding my girls while deciding what outfit would best fit them for some time spent in the sunshine. I went paddle boarding, napped at the end of my dock, tossed a ball for my dog...I even took our little motorboat out by myself- opened it up "all the way" to feel the wind, to feel alive. I did yoga with my husband, we grilled for dinner, talked to friends/family on the phone, drank wine, and discussed how much time we had spent on social media and how that was helping/hurting our mental state. I felt completely safe. Overall, I had a day that many will never get to experience. That is my privilege.

I am not from Minnesota, and struggle to call it home- however my husband, and now my girls, are from here- and I've grown the love certain aspects of it. The most recent was the incredible healthcare we received during our birth process. If it was not for the U of M children's hospital in the Twin Cities I do not think that our daughters would be alive and thriving today. This week we learned that a man unjustly lost his life here in MN, and subsequently the hospital where our girls were kept alive had to go on lockdown due to looters- the Target where we bought our first formula was burned to the ground, not by local protestors- but by looters- and if you do not know the difference, or want to argue with me- either educate yourself, or stop reading this blog. I'm sorry but I just do not have space for you.

It breaks my heart to see yet another human of "color" lose their life- and I put that in quotes here because we are all "of color"- it's just that those of us who get the check the "caucasian" box in the US won the jackpot and get to be the majority "color". Our girls won the jackpot. They have access to food, shelter, healthcare, oh, and they are white Americans.

When I spin out about financial concerns, COVID, race riots, etc...I am quickly re-grounded in how privileged we are as "the Burns party of 4"- checking in from our cabin in northern MN, watching via social media as our friends, family, and peers in more urban areas are directly impacted as they both support social justice, and protect their communities from looters at the same time. I continue to come back to what really matters in my life- and how fortunate I am.

Non-the-less, this past week was a week of wonderful firsts for our girls. They napped in a tent, stuck their feet in the lake, spent time on a dock...and went on their first boat ride! I am committed to educate them on equity, social justice, inclusion, persistence and resistance, and above all, love, as they grow. Don't get me wrong- they are of my I know they will have PLENTY of fire, passion, and just a tad of F-you's mixed in...and I endeavor to help guide them as they figure it all our for themselves - hopefully as humans who will help create a better situation than we are currently in now, both locally and globally.

Overall, I have both anger in my heart for the death of Gorge Floyd, and endless love for the Twin Cities where my girls were born, and kept alive.

With the heavy, conflicted heart of a deep-feeling new mother, thanks for reading...



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