Since the onset of COVID-19, the news is jam-packed with triggering and depressing information. It’s like a dark hole of gloom and doom that is impossible to escape. And while the news continues to remain negative, I realize that’s not a way of life that I can sustain. I need hope. I need positivity. I am an optimist, clinging to the good. I have made it my mission to start seeing the silver lining in this tragic disaster.
And so I ask you this: what do you remember about your childhood?
I remember playing hide and seek outside with all the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on at dusk. I remember a house a few doors down had a steep, sloping driveway that we would fly down on our sleds while crossing our fingers that no one would break an arm. I remember picking dandelions in our yard while my dad threw a baseball with my brother.
My best friend lived right at the bottom of the hill. We spent every weekend and summer day jumping on my trampoline, swinging on her swing-set, playing tag and “spud,” making up silly dances, and taking hundreds of walks around our block. I can still imagine myself looking out her window, watching the one street light we had turning on, and I knew it was time for me to run back up the hill to my house.
I remember being called in for dinner, and as soon as we finished eating, my brother and I would bolt out the door to squeeze in that last hour of outdoor play.
My parents didn’t have to worry about us. We were exploring, creating, making memories. We were solving all of the world’s problems in a pile of sticks we used to build a fort. My parents didn’t have to follow us around the neighborhood, and there were no cell phones. They’d simply open the front door and call out our names. We would listen to the echo of their voices through the woods, and we knew it was time to go. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
What is this new generation going to remember? Tik Tok, Instagram, Snap Chat, and video games? For my own children, I pray that’s not the case. I pray my children will make memories of mud pies, building icy igloos, and listening for the sound of my voice as I call for them. Unfortunately, it’s not the same world. But I pray so hard it will be again one day.
So in the midst of this terrible pandemic, I continue to look for the good. Families are outside! Whole families! Kids are playing chalk and bubbles in their driveways, they are rainbow hunting, taking long hikes, swinging, sliding, laughing.
And while the neighbors can’t play together just yet, it’s a start. Families are spending quality time in the neighborhood, building a foundation for more of a “community-like” future. It may not be the way that I wanted this to happen, but it sure is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.