I’ve been thinking lately, dreaming really, about the distant future. When my chest gets tight, when this all feels like too much, I think about a time far from now when we’ll look back on the COVID-19 crisis as a memory. Someday, I’ll be looking through old pictures with family. I’ll try to explain this time to my grandkids. What tone will my story take?
When I tell my grandkids about this…
I’ll explain how we watched. We watched as it was overseas, then landed in the U.S, our state, and right into our neighborhoods. We watched as national morning shows transformed into Zoom calls, sometimes providing us with more news than our hearts could take.
I’ll explain how we scrambled. We scrambled to create an entirely new normal for our families. Parents became teachers, and bedrooms became home offices. We scrambled to find a way to fit it all into one day. We struggled in our panic of the unknown. For food, for toilet paper, for sanity.
I’ll explain how we worried. We worried about our jobs. Our parents. Our kids. We worried about the grocery stores having enough food and about our healthcare system being able to handle the inevitable.
I’ll explain how we struggled. We struggled to cope. To get it all done each day. We struggled with the loss of our normal. We struggled to accept the fact that weddings would be postponed, graduations canceled. We struggled with the isolation. We lost the option to hug the ones we love, to let our kids run and play with their friends. Grandparents met their grandkids through windows, unable to hold them for the very first time.
I’ll explain how we loved. We loved on each other, checking in on our loved ones near and far. We loved on our healthcare workers and other front line heroes, making signs, and shouting with gratitude as they changed shifts. We loved those closest to us, spending 24/7 together for weeks with no end in sight. It wasn’t always pretty, but there was so much love.
I’ll explain how we came together. Boy, did we ever. Humanity had more in common than ever before, and we rallied. We came together to raise money for those out of work. To make sure families were able to get food on the table day after day. The world connected virtually like never before, holding meetings and celebrating birthdays over a computer screen. We came together to make each other laugh when we needed it the most.
I’ll explain how we waited. We waited to see how this story would end. To be able to exhale finally. We waited to return to our daily lives and enjoy all the little things we had been taking for granted. Ball games, concerts, a night out with friends. Cookouts, Starbucks, a weekend spent at Grandma’s house. We waited, as patiently as we could, as the world’s scientific community worked around the clock to beat this thing. We waited for news of when kids would once again be able to sit in a classroom, when Mom and Dad could go back to work. We waited to reach a finish line we couldn’t quite see yet.
When I tell my grandkids about this, I’ll make sure they hear the good hidden beneath all the bad. I’ll make sure they know just how lucky we are to be together…and why Grandma likes hugs so much.