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Summer Looks Different This Year

We’re officially into summer, and it looks quite a bit different than a normal summer. Nothing about 2020 has been “normal". COVID-19 has upended everything, shaken the world, and exposed inequities. And now, as coronavirus cases start to rise again around the country, even the small bits of traditional summer seem to be slipping away.

July is usually a big month for our family–kicked off with a 4th of July BBQ at my father-in-law’s house and followed by my husband’s birthday and then mine. But, not only are big BBQs ill-advised this year, my father-in-law passed away in May.

July feels strange. Summer looks different this year. Our family is grieving, but we are not alone. There is a collective grief in the world. We grieve for those who have died during the pandemic. We grieve loss of jobs and income instability. We grieve normalcy. We grieve the disappointment of canceled vacations and summer traditions. There will forever be life before coronavirus and life after coronavirus.

But this summer, we’re still in the midst of coronavirus. We’re trying to find our footing while parsing the ever-updating information and guidelines. We’re assessing risks of every activity and struggling to plan further ahead than a few days. Parents are struggling to work with camps and daycares closed. We yearn for finding our “new normal."

Yes, summer looks different this year. And yet, we can cling to each other, from an appropriate social distance, of course. For all that is canceled, we can choose to keep what holds the most value. Kindness is not canceled. Family is not canceled. Love is not canceled. Justice is not canceled.

Summer looks different this year. Our pain and disappointment are valid. And yet, may we take the opportunity to slow down, run through a sprinkler, read a book, weed our gardens, and check on our loved ones. May this be the summer we take care of ourselves and each other. May we give space for grief.

When we look back at the summer of 2020, I hope we remember that we came together, even while apart.


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