by Terri Codlin
My granddaughter, Felicity, is living in the thick of things in NYC during this pandemic. Her family has been sequestered in Manhattan since March 13th, the day after her 10th birthday. All birthday plans that she had planned meticulously, were scrapped. There were tears, of course, but no regrets. My daughter and her husband made sure that she had a lovely day. Her school closed on the 10th but her teacher alerted her to that possibility so Felicity was able to make snacks for her classmates and wear a special dress instead of her uniform to school that day. It was also an important day at school when the 4th graders were able to toss their pinafores in the air and will no longer wear them into 5th grade. The governor of NY had already set the date for all school closures so they knew that school would be closed at least until April 30th.
The first two weeks of socially distancing were during her scheduled spring break so virtual schooling did not start until after that. This gave them all some time to adjust to two adults and a child living together plus a dog and a cat in a NYC apartment 24/7. One of the salvations to this situation is that Central Park is only half a block away. This has been their refuge and sanity saver. It is such a huge park that it is fairly easy to explore more remote areas of the park and commune with nature. It wasn’t until about a month ago that face masks were required for being outside which was something difficult to get used to, but when they are away from others, the masks can come off.
The concerns her parents have is that until now, Felicity has been extremely restricted in use of any devices and now everything she does practically is done on a device, including ballet and violin lessons. They try to make weekends as device free as they can. I think that this Covid-19 experience will have a permanent effect on the way we go forward. I think about all the children who are not as fortunate as my granddaughter and are holed up in small apartments with too many people and possibly abusive situations. I think of the racial disparity that this pandemic has brought to the surface.
For my granddaughter, I think it will make her even more resilient and sure of her abilities. I believe that she will have learned that she can rely on herself for adapting to new, challenging situations with confidence. I also believe that it will make her even more grateful for the little kindnesses, the joy of family and the strength of those who have braved the virus as essential workers throughout our country.
On March 16th, this is what my daughter posted on Facebook: I hope this is what she will remember: not the anxiety or the frantic pace of the news, but the time together, the sunshine on our faces, racing from tree to tree, and at home the piles of books, snack dinners and movie nights, the shrieking glee of a Group FaceTime with ballet friends; the chance to hole up for a while, just we three, our regular lives on pause.