Last night President Joe Biden gave a speech that marked the one year anniversary of the country shutting down due to the coronavirus. It was beautifully written and a real tearjerker. Until the president said that, I had kind of forgotten that the whole country experienced it at the same time. In our house, March 12 has a special meaning as the anniversary of the birth of our oldest daughter. Last year, at the end of the school day on Thursday, we all received the automated call from the superintendent that is typically reserved for something as banal as snow days, but this was different. We were informed that schools would be closed and for an undetermined amount of time, as we had all already nervously anticipated.
My daughter had gone to school in the morning, went to her 8th grade classes and saw her friends who wished her a happy birthday–no masks, no social distancing, not even a hint of remote learning. She describes it as the last normal day before the world transformed into what we know now. We canceled the party we had planned for her and instead celebrated her birthday with the family over zoom, the first of many such calls.
Like many parents, I have wondered what the lasting impact of living through this pandemic might have on their respective ages. The funny thing about children is that whatever is going on in our life or the world, they grow. It doesn’t matter that they stop seeing their friends, going to movies or if their parents lose their jobs, they just keep growing. And remarkably in the face of great adversity, they stay curious. And thanks to our intrepid teachers (truly, thank you teachers!) they keep learning. To grow is to live and if we are alive, I would say that is mostly good.
Happy 15th Birthday, Gioia! Wishing you the very best of these shitty birthdays. We decided to get you a new president, vaccines for everyone and some other stuff I hope you like. I love you and I love watching you grow. You are never the same and always yourself.