It has sat there since March 12th. It has sat in the same spot where she dropped it by the door when she last came home from school. The purple backpack that went back and forth with my daughter everyday sat untouched until today.
At the start of this whole pandemic thing we left it sitting there in its spot with the hope that soon everything would return to normal. We held on to hope that the morning would come when we would be making lunch, filling the water bottle and packing that backpack for the day. As the weeks and months went by and that hope diminished it was just too hard to unzip it and look inside. Too hard to be reminded of how life used to be. Too hard to be reminded of the times she would come bursting through the door with her backpack on anxiously awaiting to tell me the stories of her day at school.
Why I chose to open it today I don’t know. Going through it was as if time stood still. It was filled with untouched memories that no longer will be. Her bus pass, her gym ID and key, the money still in her wallet, her pink take home folder and her winter hat all crammed in just as she had left them three months ago.
It’s sad thinking about all of the memories that have been lost due to this pandemic. The community trips that always resulted in stories that made her laugh out loud, running to the bus stop in the rain, trying new foods and restaurants, riding the train into Boston, who fell of their chair in class, who did something to make the whole class laugh all ended. There were so many more memories to be made. So many new stories that will never be told.
Despite having to do school from home however, my daughter has made new memories that she never would have had if she were in her classroom at school. Although she has not been physically with her teachers and classmates these past few months she has in a sense gotten closer to them. Seeing your teachers and friends in their own homes everyday by video allows for different kinds of memories to be made. Memories of the day someone’s pet suddenly appeared on the screen, seeing a teacher’s child or spouse in the background, seeing a classmate in their pajamas, having a surprise visitor join in, or logging onto your computer and seeing photos of something a classmate or teacher did could only have been made during this time.
As for the backpack, I emptied it’s contents and made room for the day it will be used again. The day the lunch will be made, the water bottle filled and many new memories will be made.