"Everything here is my life!"
With anxiety they put their masks on as we park. "I don't want to go in," says the 11-year-old.
"That's okay," I say. "We won't be too long."
Surprisingly, he concedes and grabs his mask, hopping out of the car.
We walk to the library, first to return books, then to the "Grab-n-go" room, a new feature to our local library navigating this new covid-life. With seven people allowed at a time, we check that we can enter, and walk into the library for the first time in a year.
They grab some hand sanitizer and we spread out social-distance-style around the small room. It's...surreal...
"Everything here is my life," exclaims the 16-year-old. My heart.
A year ago today I hoarded books from this library because the news had broken that they would be closing indefinitely because of COVID-19. No masks, but significantly more anxiety than this "Grab-n-go" trip.
I remember that day well. I had visited some friends the night before, and stayed way too late. All we talked about was coronavirus. "They say we're supposed to be six feet apart," my friend Crystal said. I imagine I had wrinkled my face in disbelief in response. (I've been known to have resting b**** face.) I hugged them goodbye, not knowing it would be the last time we'd interact in-person for a good three months. Even after that it was with hesitancy that we'd be closer than six feet.
Friday morning I had counseling, the last in-person session with Kristina. I'm pretty sure all we talked about was coronavirus too. Then, the library, a frantic grab-everything-in-sight charade of pretending this was only going to last two weeks. Then, a trip to Children's Hospital in Seattle for my oldest. An appointment too important to delay, all I remember is being worried that we would get "the corona." A doctor appointment without masks? This is madness now to think that we would be so brazen.
From there it became months of constant fear, unsurety, and unparalleled blessings in ways I can't describe accurately in words, although I've tried. The beauty our family experienced because of coronavirus, the imagination I observed in myself and my children is something I couldn't have architected without a century pandemic.
And yet, I'd never do it again.
I will remember the absolute joy of my children in a library for the first time in a year. I will remember the simple joy of a playdate with besties outside on a glorious spring day.
Because I now know how these blessings are not guaranteed.