365 days ago was the last normal day most of us had. March 12, 2020. Everything felt so uncertain and scary. In the weeks prior we knew about the coronavirus but would often jest about it. But then the NBA shut down abruptly the same night Tom Hanks announced he contracted the disease. I vividly remember laying in my bed frantically texting my friends and family that night. After that the anxiety seemed to heighten. And on March 12 I went to work and after that day nothing has been the same. At first I wondered if I’d be back before the baby was born. I realized I wouldn’t, so my dad took me to the office one Saturday in our still new masks to collect the things I needed. Surely we’d be back by the time my maternity leave ended. Mackenzie is 9 months old and I’ve been to the office 4 times. Interestingly enough I am on my way there now, in a mask on an empty bus going into a still empty city. 365 days later and it feels like nothing has changed.
I remember when Mayor dBag announced the public schools would close until April and I panicked. What would I do until April?! 365 days later and Charlotte still barely goes to school. Who would have ever predicted that? Certainly not me. I don’t let myself sit and think about how much she has lost out on because it will drive me insane. There are so many articles out there now calling these kids Generation C, or Generation Covid. I started to read one yesterday and had to stop myself because it was so doom and gloom. Their lives are being shaped by this whether we like it or not. There is a Before and an After.
But perhaps there is a light at the end of this tunnel? I keep trying to see it and I don’t know if it’s the light or just a train coming out of a tunnel to hit us head on. When you get one piece of good news about vaccines you get another piece of news about how the variants are here to destroy us again. I just want all of this to end. I got my first vaccine dose on Monday (as a federal employee I am eligible so don’t @ me) and I get my second dose April 7 so at least I can say I’m vaccinated and stop worrying as much. But until our kids are in school and we’re all back at work and things feel normal I don’t think my jaw will unclench. I long for the days of just going and doing and seeing. I miss Broadway and parties. I miss doing things without rules. I want to dance and sing and sweat in a mosh pit of people. And yet I feel like this past year has now conditioned me to be afraid of these things. I’m constantly counting how many people are around me. A crowded grocery store makes my head hurt. I feel like I’ll be that way for a long time.
We lost a lot these past 365 days but we also gained a lot too. We learned what’s really important. We spent more time with our kids (even if we think it’s been too much time, because it has been!). If our kids are Generation C we are the Pandemic Parents. We’ve managed the impossible. And we’re still doing it. So if it takes another few months or another year, eventually this will end. And I hope I’m next to you in a crowd, singing and dancing probably weeping from joy to be near people once again. The first round is on me.
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