We are living in a historic moment. The Minnesota Historical Society is collecting and preserving Minnesotans’ stories related to the COVID-19 health crisis so future generations can learn how the pandemic has impacted our lives. We invite you to read a sampling of these stories here.
I will not sugarcoat the truth
My husband and I are newish parents. We welcomed our curious little girl into the world in August of 2019. Before she was here and even as she grows, he and I are constantly preparing for the next stage in her development – are these clothes getting too small, how do we introduce solid foods, when is the appropriate time to buy baby gates, do we need to talk to our pediatrician about these persistent sniffles? Despite all the preparatory work parents go through in the first year, no book, blog, class, or podcast could ever prepare you for a global health pandemic. We both work and we’ve been incredibly grateful for our daycare center – they’re still open and still helping our little ones grow every day – but we struggled with the idea of continuing to send her for weeks for fear that she would carry the virus home with her. She is still going today and that allows us to work, but we know so many families who are forced to split up their workday and burn that midnight oil to keep up with business.
I think a lot about how my daughter will learn about the coronavirus as part of her history lesson in school one day and about the questions she may ask us. I will not sugarcoat the truth. Yes, this was an unstable time for so many people across the planet. Inequalities became much clearer as people who needed help couldn’t find care or essential workers were forced to put their families and themselves at risk so that others in their communities were taken care of. Many people died … alone. Many people lost their jobs, faced hunger, and were met with more bills that they couldn't afford to pay. I will tell her that it was hard and sad and terrifying, but there were also good things that happened.
The air became cleaner in many parts of the world, allowing us to fill our lungs with fewer pollutants. People started spending more time outdoors getting much-needed exercise and finding a small escape from the confines of their homes. Friends and family found new ways to connect to each other, despite keeping at least 6 feet between them. Video chats allowed people to check-in and connect. We shared more meals around our tables at home. Family time filled up the daylight hours because we did not have anywhere to go or appointments to make. We resurfaced forgotten hobbies and found new ones to enjoy.
Our life was put on pause and we soaked in every moment we had together. From the impromptu family photoshoots to our weekend adventures, we had each other. In these moments, we had our health and we realized just how much of a gift that truly was.
~ Submitted by Ashley Grossman