Written by Dr. Pete Lao
We are a family of two gay dads living in northern California. We have two daughters ages 9 and 19. My husband is a second-grade teacher and I work as a physician in the intensive care unit.
Being a frontline worker at the height of the pandemic put significant strain on my personal and professional life. We were inundated with critically ill patients and staff shortages. Mistrust and misinformation from the public made everything much more challenging. COVID-19 made vulnerable patients extremely ill and every minute at work was an emergency. After several months, I was operating everything in a crisis mode – both at work and at home. A microwave ding triggered as much stress response as a code blue alarm in the intensive care unit would.
Then earlier this year, I had a bit of a health scare. That was the feather that did not just tip the scale but completely broke it. I decided to put medicine on hold and focused on self-care. I started meditating again. And I explored my creative side. Still, the healing was not easy. Of all the things I tried in order to become more balanced, writing about the difficulties I was facing was one of the most therapeutic things. I drew inspiration from childhood memories, stories my parents told me when I was young, people we knew, our dog, TV characters, etc. It was a fun project that wasn’t going to get anywhere outside my head. Then I shared the stories with my husband and our 9-year-old, and they encouraged me to put the stories into a book. And the idea of “Wake” was born.
Wake is a collection of original fairy tales and other stories that describe how each character has a choice to make in the wake of their adversity. You will find kings, princesses, witches, magic, and talking animals in the stories. But you won’t find that a true love’s kiss can cure all. And the fairy godmother in one story, in fact, refuses to use her magic to help the main character. But there are no sad finales. All stories, instead of happy, have wise endings. They leave lessons about kindness, compassion, self-reliance, and a growth mindset in the face of challenges.
My hope for Wake is for parents to use it as a jump-off point to discuss situations that one day their children will face when the parents are not around. I hope the book will empower the children to rely on their virtues and inner strengths because those are the sources of true magic.
We grownups can enjoy the stories in quiet contemplation and reconnect with our inner child who, after all this time, still looks to us for love, support, and guidance.
Wake is available in paperback and kindle ebook format. You can find both on Amazon under the pen name NahMo.
Purchase the paperback here
Purchase on Kindle here