Was Last Year A Fever Dream?
Now for a little story about a guy I knew in college. And not just so I can name-drop Baylor University, 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions. Finally, some street cred for my Waco alma mater after years of David Koresh jokes.
A fifth-year senior, my friend was upset as he had just learned he would not graduate as planned, lacking one credit for a sophomore-level English literature class. Back then, soph English classes were divided in two segments, before or after the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns. When asked, “Which class are you lacking, ‘Before Burns’ or ‘After?”’ he pondered deeply before responding, “I’m not sure. I think ‘During.’”
Yah…no during. This story reminds me of the pandemic, and how we’ll record it. Much like BC and AD, will our personal timelines reflect “Before Covid” and “After Covid”? And yet there will remain a brief span – which does not seem brief as we trudge through it, but might seem brief 10 years from now – known as “During.” Short for “Enduring,” a fact not lost on any of us. My youngest has her “uphill in the snow both ways” Class of 2020 pandemic stories safely stowed away for future grandchildren.
The Class of 2020, however, is quick to relinquish the “We Had It Worst” trophy to the Class of 2021. At press time, plans for Miramonte graduation remain in flux, but this year’s senior class will exit with a few fond memories, thanks to a true Orinda treasure, Miramonte Parents’ Club President Tricia Young and her team of senior class parent advisors.
These dedicated volunteers have worked alongside the five-star Miramonte staff crafting opportunities, such as outdoor movie nights, for students to safely socialize. Currently, they’re designing a modified, sports-field, boxed-dinner version of Senior Ball as well as a TBD iteration of a crowd-less commencement and a Senior Sunrise. We forget how heavily event planning relies on tradition. It is indeed a rare high schooler who enjoys being guinea-pigged when their social standing hangs in the balance. We owe these Miramonte parents and staff a huge debt of gratitude. Their creative efforts are what makes our community that overused but highly desirable phrase, “A great place to raise kids.”
We will all share in having lived “During.” Each pandemic experience will be both unique and universal. Once the world’s “Open” sign flipped to “Closed,” I figured I might as well use the isolation for introspection and growth. I envisioned my empty-nester goals and a game plan solidified by the time we reemerged, like a butterfly shedding its cocoon. Although we’re not exactly out yet, we’re getting close. My irksome revelation: I’m more bee than butterfly– somehow I kept busy, but remain no closer to figuring out what I’m going to be when I grow up.
As my first dose of the Moderna vaccine got injected into my arm, the tiny stick of the needle became one of those weird “frozen in time” moments, similar to déjà vu, but maybe more like its opposite – where the mental camera takes a snapshot and suddenly a few random seconds become defining.
It’s been said that pain is a memory marker. Not that the injection itself was painful. Once you’ve given birth, a woman has an entirely new threshold for pain. But that stick in the arm triggered some sort of awakening, like a hypnotist suddenly snapped his fingers on the count of three. It almost felt like coming out of a trance, a very distinct realization that my life was beginning a hopeful new phase. “But what will I blame when I can no longer blame Covid?” I wondered neurotically. Followed by, “Is this what Stockholm Syndrome feels like?” Have I fallen a tiny bit in love with my captor, a fickle virus that reeled me in by encouraging Netflix, DoorDash and Wine O’clock?
A post-Covid world looms – thrilling and daunting at the same time. I feel a bit lost with launched kids and no firm plan. Guess I’m still banking on pulling a rabbit out of a hat at the eleventh hour. Except for the basketball team being much improved, not much has changed since college.