When lockdown began, all the millennials went home.
They were told not to go home–directly told, in C’s case, by a New York City ER doc overwhelmed by patients and expecting his hospital’s ICU to be overrun. But they went home anyway.
We quarantined our returnee inside the house for two weeks. Separate Corona chair, separate bathroom (door closed before and after use!), a designated seat at the far end of the dinner table, hands off the Nespresso machine and the spoons and forks and everything else a person must touch to feed himself. It felt like an adventure.
(And yes, I’m grateful we have enough space to quarantine another human being. Wish we had enough space for all 3 grown sons, but that’s another story.)
I thought millennials went home because home feels safe, virus or no.
That was true.
What I didn’t realize is that safety is a 2-way street.
A few days ago, I spoke to a 25-year old who told me: “I haven’t let my mother out of my sight.”
As I thought about it, I realized she could have been describing C’s behavior. Only in the past few weeks has he let us out of his sight. For 6 weeks straight, neither Ed nor I left the house for any reason at all apart from a daily hourlong march (or patrol?) around the neighborhood. Every errand that had to be done, C. did, willingly, happily, without having to be asked.
He used to call it “going to the outside world.”
He would return bearing groceries, supplies, and field intelligence. How many masks, how many people in the check out lanes, the wonders of no-traffic in Westchester County. Later in the day, he would walk the neighborhood with us.
Last weekend, C. went to his first small get-together with friends since all of this began. Every one of them said they had spent the initial month of quarantine terrified they would give COVID to their parents, and their parents would die.
I’ve tried to imagine that, and I can’t.
They were terrified they would kill their own parents.
They braved this fear, and they made sure no one else killed their parents. For a young adult, this will be a formative experience, I think. Millennials: the good guys.
Happy Father’s Day!