(Photo above is of the Smith kids, gathered for a siblings’ June birthday, last year.)
In speaking with my youngest on her birthday, March 1st., she mentioned a poignant memory: she had gone out with friends for dinner and a late night out in their Brooklyn neighborhood. “That was the last time for eating out, being out…the day later, it was lockdown for Covid.”
The world turned upside down for all of us last March, but I feel it’s hit the young the hardest. The teenagers I taught at summer camp last year (masked and socially distant) were just beginning to feel the loneliness and isolation of distance learning and not being able to be with people their own age; my own kids faced the trials of living in small city apartments, and having to live and work within the same four walls, day and and out. Hovering over everything, of course, was the anxiety we all felt when we had to run those essential life errands from grocery shopping to a visit to the doctor.
Underlying all the conversations I have with my children, is a sense of reservation they have about looking toward the future, of making plans to change jobs, travel, fall in love. I can offer little new in terms of reassurance: vaccines are on their way, after all, and we will be able to return to whatever will be the “new normal”. Still, I wonder what the long term effects on our young will be, thanks to this pandemic year. The young, they say, are resilient.
We Look With Uncertainty – Anne Hillman
We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.