Maybe, just maybe, we’re seeing a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. We are, by nature, hopeful creatures. So we believe there is an end to this. To varying degrees, we’re cautiously insisting it’s time to go back to “normal,” whatever that looks like. But as we make that hazardous transition, how we remember our “pandemic days” will depend on how we dealt with the odd challenges that became daily obstacles to face, then hurdles to conquer.
Parents will remember learning about teaching. Some saw it as a great burden, while others as an opportunity. As the weeks passed, most stepped up to it and made the most of it. They unraveled lesson plans, energized lagging kids and repeatedly recaptured interest. Eventually, many parents realized a growing confidence in their teaching abilities, improved awareness of their kids’ academic standing and, best of all, made new connections with their kids.
Speaking of school, graduating high school seniors will remember that while they didn’t get to walk across the stage and receive a diploma, the notoriety of saying “I graduated the year of the pandemic” will carry a lot more interest than any commencement address ever did. The trade-off of pomp and circumstance for such a unique memory will be worth it.
Senior people will remember their own notoriety as the “at risk” group. In an age that abhors discrimination, suddenly age became a striking discriminatory factor as those over 60 were deemed most likely to succumb. I’ve aged during this pandemic, not physically, but in the eyes of those who know and love me. I’m not sure I’ll ever regain my standing once this is over. I prefer not to be deemed decrepit for the rest of my life. But we’ll see how this goes.
How children will remember these pandemic weeks will depend a great deal on how the adults in their lives handled it. Their “normal” was upended — no playing with friends, schooling at home, limited interactions with extended family and lots more time with parents. But every one of those memories can be positive or negative. Hopefully, most kids will look back on these memories as good ones — strange, but nothing too damaging. Children with wise parents have not been afraid.
Employees who transitioned to working at home will remember what it was like to set up a home office, be it ever so humble, and within the busyness and noise and distractions of their homes try to do what they once did in a quiet corner of a business building. It’s likely that when they do return to their places of work, some part of them will miss their humble home office.
Our pets will remember this as the time when they thought they’d died and gone to heaven, because their owners finally stayed home, paid lots more attention to them and took them on more walks in a month than they’d been on their entire lives.
We’ll remember how the political arguing and wrangling quieted down. True, much has been replaced with arguing and wrangling over who has done what to deal with this pandemic. Apparently, we can’t exist without controversy. But the gravity of our circumstance forced unwilling leaders to come to the bargaining table and make decisions based on human need rather than political antics. We will also remember who represented us best — and worst.
We’ll remember how little we can actually get by on when we really have to.
We’ll remember how odd it felt to stand 6 feet away from others as we conversed, how strange it was to leave visitors on the porch and not invite them in, and how bizarre it felt to wear masks and gloves to go to the grocery store and the post office.
We’ll remember the courage of those who we consider “essential workers.” How they went out into the world to take care of us. Every one of them — medical personnel, truck drivers, mail and package deliverers, utility workers, grocery store workers, food service people, elderly care people, home care people and more — kept on doing what they needed to do so we could exist. If we remember them as heroes, we will be accurate.