Our family wall calendar for the month of March is a wee bit haunting. While we each have our own systems for tracking personal appointments or assignments, the calendar that hangs in our kitchen is the way we keep track of the things all three of us need to know. Soccer practices and basketball games. Out-of-town work meetings. Early dismissal days at school. The day the dog needs his monthly meds. We even buy an extra large calendar because we’ve found the regular calendar’s squares are too small to track our busy lives. Or, they used to be too small—until March happened.
The month started off normally enough, with notes about going snow tubing on the first, followed by “mismatch day,” “twin day” and “character day” at my son’s school. There was an ice hockey game, dinner with a cousin, an airport pick-up. But then “mum and dad visit this weekend” got crossed off. Basketball games got crossed off. A day trip to see friends, crossed off. Nearly everything written for two weeks’ worth of time was crossed off, one by one.
And then you turn the page… and April is nearly blank, save for a few extended family birthdays (and the date that still notes when the dog gets his meds). In a way, it’s representative of how each day bleeds into the next right now. The utter lack of places to go and people to see. And yet, there’s so much more to what we’re all going through right now that I think we—and our kids—will want to remember.
When we think back on this time later, when we tell our kids and our grandkids what it was like to live and work and parent through this pandemic, we’ll want more than, “well… we took a lot of walks, see.” We’ll want more than a calendar that, almost over night, just went blank.
I’ve been noting little things in my bullet journal to help me remember the flow of the days. Movies I’ve watched during my in-home elliptical workouts, dinners we’ve made, curbside takeout we’ve ordered. But it doesn’t really capture the feeling of what we’re experiencing. So one mum created what she’s calling a “COVID-19 Time Capsule.”
It’s not a true time capsule in which you collect a bunch of items representative of this time and literally bury it in the backyard. It’s more a recording of memories and experiences; it’s part-journal, part-workbook, and part-collection of mementos, such as photos, newspaper clippings or deserted family wall calendars.
Natalie Long, of LONG Creations, initially created this project as a way to document day-to-day life during the coronavirus with her own kids. But it struck such a chord when she first shared it on Facebook a few weeks ago that she has since added a Canadian version, Spanish and French versions, a metric version, and several versions specifically for adults. There are even bonus pages for new parents, teachers, graduates and those who are celebrating birthdays during the pandemic.
In the basic version for kids, they can fill out some stats about themselves (age, weight, shoe size, etc.), words to describe their feelings, what they’ve learned during this experience, what they’re grateful for, and what has been keeping them busy. There is a page for them to write a letter to themselves, a page for you to write a letter to them, and a chart to track important events and how they celebrated them.
Each version is a free, downloadable PDF that you can print and fill out at home. When it’s done, there’s no need to bury it; simply stick it in a safe place to reflect on in the years to come.