Social Distancing Diaries

What This Year Will Show

I’ve been thinking a lot about trees lately. When you look at the cross-section of an old tree, you’ll see plenty of rings that just look alike but – even to the untrained eye – there will be a few that stand out to represent unusual years. Some rings may show a drought year, or a year where there was a fire. There may be a ring that shows a lot of rain that triggered a surge of late growth.

I worry about what the ring of this year will show in the lives of the kids across the world. They’re supposed to be growing a lot these years and the disruptions of socialization and the scars of fear and the deficit of education and the anxiety of economic despair…it’s going to leave it’s mark on all of them in one way or another. As adults…we have more growth at our core to withstand a troublesome year, but our kids? They’re still fragile and disruptions in their nourishment could be catastrophic. And there’s just so much we don’t know. We make a decision to send them to school to protect their mental health and the sanity of a household juggling life during a pandemic, but then they get sick. Or we keep them home and their mental health deteriorates and family relationships are broken.

All I know is that – no matter what – this year will be an obvious one in the cross-section of our lives. There will be no doubt there was trouble when looking at this ring of growth. I just hope we all mitigate that trouble to the best of our abilities and that the future rings show stability and health.

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