Monday, May 29, 2023
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My kids wonder if everything will be ok. What am I going to tell them?

A few weeks ago, I received a message from my teenage daughter. “Mom, my friend just texted me about monkeypox. Will it be okay this time?” I looked at the text, wondering how to answer. It’s full of anxiety, and fantasies, that as a parent, I have some kind of magical powers that, in fact, I don’t. Is it okay this time? Last time I lied to my kids and told them it was okay, we ended up in an epidemic that killed over a million people and still shows no signs of stopping. I thought of her use of the word “this time”. Those words woven together are one of those hints that the pandemic may have changed her. Perhaps the fear of illness and years of Zoom education changed the way she sees the world.

There have been attempts to quantify the impact the pandemic has had on us and our children – learning loss, grief, suicide, alcoholism , shootings, divorce – but we don’t yet know the extent of it. How did those empty streets change me? Did my sleepless nights, staring out the window, watching ambulances pick up people who couldn’t breathe, permanently changed my mind? And we still don’t know what we’ll be like post-pandemic, mostly because we’re still in a pandemic.



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