Were you visited by the COVID fairy last night? We were. She came to mark the anniversary of the day things shut down.
Last year on March 13, we got word that the school would be closed for two weeks to slow the spread of COVID. It ended up being for the whole year. My daughter hasn't set foot in a school room since.
My job became virtual, until working and helping my daughter learn remotely got to be too much. I left my job in August, and now I just teach from home. I never considered homeschooling until the pandemic hit. But it's been a great experience, and I sometimes wonder who is the teacher and who is the student. If you ever want to be reminded of what you don't know, try teaching a sixth-grader.
We've put travelling on hold, and consider a trip to the grocery store a major outing. We shop less in general, adjusting to our smaller income. We don't dine in restaurants, but occasionally take out. We have movie nights at home. We socialize on Zoom. We walk the dogs several times a day, including the afternoon trek to the mail box at the end of the road. Our world has become smaller. We have more time to think.
Pandemics are easier on introverts than on extroverts. When it comes down to it, I don't mind staying at home. I've gotten so much reading done. I've started writing a new book. I've baked more loaves of bread in the past twelve months than in the rest of my adult life.
So back to the COVID fairy: she came last night to mark the anniversary of our quiet year. We've been happy to do our part, trying to flatten that curve. We've been lucky to not have COVID get too close. We haven't been on the frontlines, working in crowded hospital wards. We haven't suffered the loss of family members, like so many across the country and around the world. We're glad to be alive and healthy, and soon to be vaccinated.
The COVID fairy decorated with tinsel, masks, and travel-sized hand sanitizers, that mischievous elf. I assumed the COVID fairy was Michael, who stays up later than I do. He thought it was me, because I sometimes wake up in the night. But we were both mistaken.
It was our daughter. She crept downstairs in the night to mark the one-year anniversary with decorations. One year in the life of a twelve-year-old is a huge amount of time: any sixth grader could tell you it's one twelfth, or 8.33% of a lifetime. She felt the need to commemorate the passage of time somehow. She cut out letters to tape up on the wall: "One Year!" Dropping scissors and tape on the floor at times, she was sure she would wake us up. But she didn't.
After all those years of me and Michael playing Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and even the Leprechaun (who visits the eve of St. Patrick's Day)... she has now returned the favor. She told us two years ago that she no longer believes in those mythical creatures that leave gifts in the night, but she hasn't forgotten them. She's old enough to carry on the myth now herself.
We're looking forward to getting the vaccine and expanding our small world again. Soon. Looking back on our year, and feeling hopeful for the future.