Coronavirus and the Class of 2020

Rattankun Thongbun/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Group of graduates during commencement. (Rattankun Thongbun/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

I alluded to this in an earlier article, but I have an 18-year-old daughter. She turned 18 this past Sunday. We are ALL feeling the effects of the Coronavirus and it’s hard to know what our world will look like when we come out the other side of this.


But as the parent of high school senior, I have been keenly aware of the impact of this pandemic on my daughter and her peers. I was seven or eight weeks pregnant with her when 9/11 happened. I’ve written about that before, too — what it was like to be separated from my then-husband, scared for my baby, scared for the world we’d be bringing her into.

Just so happens, I was 7 or 8 weeks pregnant at the time. Got home, and there was a message on the machine from my doctor’s office, asking me to call them. I did, and they told me there was a problem with my hormone levels, and I was at risk for miscarrying, so I needed to go pick up a prescription. The realization that my husband was likely to be stuck in Dallas for an indefinite period at that point, and I was pretty much on my own, hit and made me feel very much alone. I got in the car and headed to the pharmacy, and remember thinking to myself how odd it was that it, and the grocery stores, and most businesses were still open and carrying on like it was a regular day. I know the people working there weren’t FEELING that way — it just struck me as odd that, even in the face of this evil, awful thing that was unfolding, we were still plodding ahead with our day. I picked up the prescription and read the warnings, which included all sorts of potential awful things that could happen to the baby, including some mutations. THAT freaked me out. So I called the doctor’s office and they reassured me it was okay to take the medicine. So I did. And I sat down on the couch and watched the endless coverage, and wondered what kind of a world my child — assuming he or she would be okay — would be born into. And I cried. 


So, my daughter and her classmates are the first wave of children born into the post-9/11 world. Aware of it only through history books and documentaries and stories recounted by their parents and grandparents.

As the pandemic began unfolding, it was easy — at first — to wave it off as a blip that we’d skate past. Or, at least, to hope it was. The reality began sinking in a couple weeks ago and the cancelations followed soon after.

The first casualty for my daughter was a concert she’d planned to attend this past weekend in celebration of her birthday. Soon after, followed the announcement that school was being canceled through April 3rd (at least). (Her district was due to return from Spring Break this past Monday.) Then came the notification that prom would be postponed. Graduation remains a tenuous question mark. A scheduled trip this summer with EF Tours is up in the air. Even college plans for August are now uncertain.

At dinner on her birthday, I remarked to my daughter and her friend about the bookends of their lives (thus far): 9/11 and COVID-19. I used it to assure them that this means their generation is going to be unusually resilient — of necessity. They’ve seen some…stuff. And they will be the ones who find a way to bounce back, stronger than ever. That is my hope, anyway. And the encouragement I wanted to lend them in the face of the uncertainty and disappointment they’re enduring at the moment.


I ran across this video today and found it extraordinarily poignant:

In all likelihood, most of these kids won’t contract the virus. Hopefully, they won’t lose loved ones to it. And hopefully, though it’s caused a significant disruption to their lives at present, it won’t be long-lasting and will, in hindsight, be a valuable lesson-learned and a springboard for great things from the Class of 2020.


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