As we commemorate this first year anniversary of COVID-19, this collective moment of awareness reminds me of where we were a year ago. The language of a brief shutdown, flatten the curve, stay home stay safe, we’re in this together – all of it hopeful and calling for unity. As daily updates from Governors called upon citizens to step up in order to save the lives of loved ones and strangers alike.
Yet as the curve turned into second and third surges our American cynicism kicked into high gear. We joked about phrases like, “avoid it like the plague,” because as American’s we in fact do not avoid the plague. We are such a social society that the idea of being alone, even if collectively, instigated feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out), loneliness, and fatigue.
Here we are a year later with more than 500,000 deaths at the hands of Covid-19 so many of us have lost jobs, health, and loved ones. Yet, we have also triumphed. We have multiple vaccines, we have (most of us) gotten the hang of wearing our masks regularly, and we are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring and with it the hopeful eradication of this disease.
Perhaps unintentionally, or in answer to this reckoning, I have taken a stance of radical generosity. I keep a bucket list, a running tally of the things I hope to do someday. Some are personal, my own writing cottage, a lake and a small boat to paddle. Some are big, visit all 50 states, play a grand piano in an empty house… also, learn to play the piano. Not all of them will get done – but playing chopsticks in an empty house still counts and I did that last year so technically, the goal was accomplished but it stays on the list, in case I do ever take lessons I want the satisfaction of really scratching it off.
One of the items on my list is to pay for a child to go to summer camp, a child who would not be able to attend without support. And this week, I did it. I don’t know what child will benefit from this gift, my only hope is that after this year that has taken its toll on all of us that some little person may enjoy paddling around a lake, horseback riding lessons, or just singing songs and eating s’mores. Whatever it is that this child needs I hope they have it at camp, I hope in some small way to make their lives better, even if only for a week.
Camp to me has always been the Haley Mills Parent Trap dream, uniformed children in bunk beds, reading, hiking, swimming. Children from all over the world coming together in an idyllic setting to play, grow, and learn. Mountains, horses, and sing alongs. And while I never had that experience myself, our family was more the day camp kind, I want to give that gift to another family. So this year I did it.
Honestly, I feel proud of myself and that feels like a warm tea pot gently tipped and began filling me up with warmth, safety, joy, and contentedness. I want that for the child who receives this gift. I want that for all of us. After this year, in spite of this year, I want that for all of us. This is how I got it, how about you?