I Know What I Did Last Summer

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I know what I did last summer… and it won’t be like this summer. I’ll try, but I know it won’t be the same.

Last summer we went to the beach, pool parties, and cook-outs — all mask-free and with no earthly idea of what would be in store the following year. Last summer we traveled, visited family, hosted family, and spent time with friends.

This summer we might be able to do some of that, but it’ll be hard staying six feet apart and not being able to hug anyone. Last summer we celebrated the Fourth of July with parade watching and fireworks viewing. This year there will be neighborhood fireworks (we’ve already been treated to them nightly anyway).

Thinking about how much the world has changed in light of the pandemic is sad. I know there are bigger issues going on, and living through a pandemic with minor inconveniences and missing out on things is a small price to pay for the health and safety of others. But while spending an early morning in the park recently, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the kids I watched playing while my son napped. They were all wearing masks. Some had gloves on. Some were carrying hand sanitizer. They were running around, climbing the equipment, making new friends. On the outside, they seemed completely unfazed. But I couldn’t help wondering what they were thinking of all this. How strange it must feel to go everywhere with a piece of cloth covering half your face. How scary it must be to think about getting sick.

My son is still too small to have any understanding of what is going on. In a way, it’s a relief to not have to explain to him what is happening. We have proceeded with caution as things have slowly started to open up. He hasn’t been to a grocery store or restaurant in months, and he only sees people wearing masks when we go out for walks or to the park. I hope that because he’s so young, this time will not have much of an impact on his emotional well-being. But I really don’t know.

We are living in such uncertain times, and all I can do is take it day by day. While I know it won’t be the same, we’ll make the best of it. I know he won’t remember this summer, but I certainly will. And I can only hope that by next summer we will be able to resume our regularly celebrated summer activities.

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