This pandemic period has been a time of tremendous suffering, hardship, loss, and grief.
At the same time, this period has taught us important lessons. Last spring, at a (Zoom, of course) meeting for my daughter’s school, an administrator said, “We’ve tried to identify anything that might be working better. What can we learn from this experience that will help us improve school in the future?”
I know that I’ve been looking for these kinds of lessons, and I’ve heard from many other people who have also been searching for possible silver linings.
For instance, while many people’s habits have grown worse over this period, some people’s habits have grown better—and they’re planning ways to maintain those good habits when former routines resume.
In my own life, as I think about silver linings, one thing stands out: my daughters’ relationship.
My daughters are six years apart in age. Because I’m five years older than my sister Elizabeth, that age gap doesn’t seem unusual to me.
They’ve both always been nice sisters. Eliza has always been kind to her little sister and let her hang around with the big kids, within reason. Eleanor was an adoring little sister who wasn’t a pest. They share similar interests.
But when you’re a child, six years makes a big difference. They grew closer once they were both on the same side of puberty.
Now, however, they’re extremely close. They talk and text frequently, they spend time together, they goof around and also talk seriously to each other.
I’m very close to my sister—my relationship with her is one of the very most crucial in my life—so their closeness makes me very happy.
And I’m convinced that the pandemic helped forge this tight bond. As close as they were, Eliza had been off in college, and when she was home, they were both busy with their own activities.
But—Eliza came back home, and we all had an intense period of togetherness, for months.
I asked Eliza and Eleanor separately, “Do you think that the safer-at-home period helped you become closer as sisters?” and they both agreed that it did.
It makes me happy to think that, out of the hardship of this time, something good was created. A closer relationship is something that can sweeten their entire lives.
My own relationship to my sister Elizabeth also grew stronger. I haven’t seen her since the winter holidays of 2019—which is by far the longest time we’ve gone without seeing each other—but I talk to her more frequently.
Have you found that you, or people you know, have become closer to family members as a result of this pandemic period?