Time flies when you’re having fun . . . and when you’re in the midst of a global health crisis, it seems. I’m not sure how we’ve almost reached the one-year mark since the official declaration of the pandemic — the days have seemed both short and long; some as if time stood still, others as if at warp speed.
Yet one day at a time, regardless of the pace, we’re approaching this milestone — one that marks too many who’ve fallen ill and too many who have lost their lives. There are no adequate words of comfort for those who are coping with losses and carrying deep grief, and my heart aches for all who are suffering.
Nor is there adequate gratitude for those who have served selflessly and tirelessly over these past 12 months. To our healthcare workers, first responders, scientists, epidemiologists, educators, support staffs, and countless more: Thank you, a million times over, for your sacrifices and for those of your loved ones, too.
Amid the pain and loss, and as we continue to deal with and discover more about the novel coronavirus and its effects, we also move forward, ideally having learned a thing or two.
Two of my best teachers through this have been my daughters, who have shown such resilience, strength, consistency, honesty, and hope, in spite of it all. On the days when I’ve felt no hope, they’ve shown me possibilities. On the days when all I’ve wanted to do is cry, they’ve made me laugh. And when I’ve needed perspective, they’ve shown me multiple ways to look at and deal with our circumstances.
They inspire me in such unexpected ways. My oldest, now 10, recently put a Post-it above her desk, with a handwritten note that reads, “All you need: 20 seconds of courage.” It’s not the exact quote from We Bought a Zoo, but it’s close, and I adore that she chose to put this phrase in her daily line of sight. I took her lead and now have an empowering phrase written on the board above my desk, too. (For more on mantras, see “STRONG BODY, STRONG MIND: Words of Inspiration”.)
Our 7-year-old, well, she has some wisdom in her, too. On a recent hike, we crossed paths with an opossum, who a few of us quickly described as an ugly creature. Her response: “He probably thinks we’re ugly, too.”
It made me laugh and gave me pause — I simply hadn’t considered that before. But that’s how she thinks, with this 360-degree view that considers all who are involved and affected. She reminds me to put myself in others’ shoes (“Welcome to Wellness,” offered me an opportunity for this).
And one night before bed, after a particularly tough day in which she’d had to deal with the consequences of a poor decision, she looked me straight in the eyes and said: “Mom, some good things happen and some bad things happen. We can’t change it, but we can keep trying.”
I write moments like this down because I don’t want to forget — and because there are often lessons in them about how to live every day.
They’re reminders that even when hard things happen that are beyond our control, we have choices about how we react to and respond to them. We can choose how we communicate about them, and we have agency to take the next step. And the one after that.
Onward — it’s the theme of this issue. It’s not about forgetting or trying to change the past, but rather acknowledging where we’ve been and all we’ve learned. It’s about continuing to forge ahead and do our best as we make our way, one day at a time.