Like they did last season, we are happy to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Season 2 of Call the Midwife, airing on Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7:00 p.m. Central, March 31-May 19. Check in here every Monday morning for the next six weeks for historical and contemporary context on the show, and some fun discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Some may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.
By Michelle Collins PhD, CNM
This week’s episode contained themes that were not unique to 1950′s London. As I watched, I tried to pick up on the common thread between the stories. I must admit I was rather clueless until the narration at the end, at which point the light bulb turned on. The narrator spoke the words “Home is not simply a mark upon a map anymore than a river is just water. It is the place at the center of the compass from which every arrow radiates and where the heart is fixed. It is a force that forever draws us back, or lures us on. For where the home is, there lies hope and the future waits and everything is possible. ”
Hence the tie-in with the young black woman who was far from her own home; the son who came home to visit, pretentious young fiancé in tow; and his parent’s story of an abusive marriage, all sublimely tied together by Chummy’s return from Africa. Having moved a few times in my adult married life, I have learned, as I am sure many of you have, that home truly is wherever those whom you love the most are. It does not matter where the physical structure, or what city or even country we are in. Home is not as much a place as it is a feeling.
Along these lines, we also saw in this episode the theme of not treating those we love the most with the most precious of care. Indulge me as I call this the “good towels” phenomenon. To explain, when I was growing up, my mother reserved the pretty, barely worn coordinating towels — the “good towels” — for when guests came to our home. When I left home I did the same, reserving my own “good towels” for those cherished, unnamed guests who would be “worthy” of them. Recently, I was doing some cleaning and came across a well-worn box, battered from several moves. Inside the box was a pristine set of beautifully intact bath towels, each piece preserved to look as if they had just come off of the department store shelf. The decor they were purchased to match had long since been changed, and though they looked new, the style was dated. I laughed at the thought of how these towels that I had so carefully conserved and carried from home to home, reserved for some unnamed guests who were “good towel” worthy (who had apparently never appeared in my home), could have been put to good use for the most precious of those in my home — my own family. Those towels serve as a reminder to me that the best part of who we are, (our “good towel behavior” so to speak) should be reserved, yes, but not for esteemed visitors who come in and out of our lives, but for those whom we should cherish above all – those whom make up our “home”.
L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz penned these immortal words which Dorothy proclaimed at the end of the movie: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
Michelle Collins PhD, CNM, is an Associate Professor of Nursing, Director Nurse-Midwifery Program, at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.