We are hopeful that the end of the pandemic and a return to some of the things we've missed is on the horizon, even if it's a few months away. But we may feel confused at our own feelings of not being happy, or being anxious at the thought of things getting "back to normal."
And then there's the feeling of camaraderie, of sharing an experience with many people.
Going through something difficult together - even if we are in separate houses while doing so - is often a bonding experience. For those of us who have chosen to take the pandemic seriously, even if our individual circumstances have been different, we have still had similar challenges. It has been reassuring, as a parent, to hear that other families have had some of the same frustrations, like when blogger/author Jen Hatmaker shared on Instagram, "I just cannot look at the grades. I can't do it. I can't look at the missing assignments or those that scored under 70%..."
My beloved grandmother, whom we called "Mama Lanie," used to pat my hand when we were doing something ordinary but fun, and say"We're making memories." Well, this year, we've been doing many things, and many of them decidedly NOT FUN, but we have, in point of fact, been making memories. And many of these are shared memories. Years from now, like veterans getting together for a reunion, we will talk about 2020 and 2021 or the Great Pandemic, or whatever the future will name this period. We will swap stories of searching for toilet paper or creating homemade proms and graduations, and there will be threads going through all these stories that link us all. Unlike the veterans, this happened to all of us, all around the world, except you Australia, with your highfalutin mature and responsible government.
The movie The Breakfast Club is about 5 high school students, seemingly very different, who spend a Saturday in detention together and learn things about themselves and each other, and bond. But at the end of the day, one of the kids asks, "What is going to happen to us on Monday? I mean, I consider you guys my friends. I'm not wrong, am I?"
What's going to happen on Monday? This year, we've faced harrowing decisions. There is a deep and soul grief that over 2 million of us have died from this, half a million+ in the United States. Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, and those with the least financial means have been affected disproportionately, but it has affected all peoples. We haven't all been in the same boat, but we've all been in the same ocean, even rich celebrities.
And there has been some sense of a shared purpose. Of helping each other out. Of getting a vaccine, and getting those shots in arms.
We've lifted up those who have been on the frontlines, our heroes, teachers, grocery store clerks, nurses, and spoken of how they needed to be better compensated, treated with more respect...
What's going to happen on Monday?
We are looking ahead, now, to things getting back to normal after this long, long year of detention, but we wonder: are we going to forget the feelings of having a shared experience? There has been an odd sense of togetherness, ironic considering we were so apart. We laugh at hearing how Prince Philip closes his laptop when he's done with a Zoom call or watch a video of Dolly Parton getting her vaccine.As you walk on by