This is their moment.
This is their 9-11.
For many of our kids – at least the ones old enough to remember, from school agers to tweens to teens – this will be their “where were you when” moment for a generation.
When it’s all said and done, this WILL become ensconced as one of the most significant moments of their lifetimes.
We need to recognize that.
Perhaps it was a beloved actor and pop culture figure getting sick for us to pay attention. Or maybe it was the NBA player who acquired the virus, passed it on to a teammate, and the resulting domino effect that saw a decade’s worth of news fit into about 24 hours.
No matter what it was – or what they will hold onto – this will be a moment that will have residual impact for our children. And the uncertainty that they are feeling will not dissipate anytime soon.
They are scared. (So are the grownups.)
They are anxious, and nervous, and disappointed about the many, many activities, events, and competitions that have been cancelled or changed or postponed. (So are we.)
We (and them) are navigating a whole range of emotions.
It’s OK TO BE SAD. I just saw a wise friend write on Twitter, “we are allowed to be sad when things don’t go as planned.”
It’s OK to be disappointed.
It’s OK to be anxious, and nervous, and downright scared.
What can we do in these crazy times? We can take this time to show grace – and find ways to lift each other up.
We can use this as an opportunity to get to know our neighbors – truly. Not just the next door ones, the ones around the block or down the hall. Especially your neighbors over 65 and other people who may be sick, disabled or otherwise fragile.
We can take the time to check on our friends. The people who have your back. The ones who brought you dinner when that baby was born. The ones who you’ve told “let’s get together soon?” but haven’t had time to do so.
If you want to avoid seeing them in person, find a way to get together virtually. We might actually, gulp, rediscover using the phone again.
There’s something reassuring about hearing a loved one’s voice in the middle of a crisis.
If you can, volunteer for a civic organization; find out if there’s a way you can do that from home or if there’s a safe way to be present.
If you can, help out that neighbor who might be fragile, sick, elderly, and/or disabled.
If you can, donate to local charities; remember that they are just in as much need for donations as they were a week ago.
If you can, shop and eat local when possible; remember that small businesses are extremely vulnerable in a crisis, especially this one.
This is way outside the scope of everyone’s normal. We’re navigating new territory. We’re trying to figure out the possible silver linings (baby boom, anyone)?
We will get through this. Perhaps, just maybe, we will be able to build an even stronger, better, community moving into the future.
Laura Weisskopf Bleill is the mom-in-chief of chambanamoms.com. For more information on COVID-19 impact on Champaign-Urbana, visit our roundup of cancellations and other updates.