Lessons Learned During Covid-19
My story begins the last week in January 2020. Covid-19 just hits the US and “Shelter-at-Home” is on our horizon, but we don’t know this yet. Our agenda is “Money Management” with Ophelia session at Indio High School. We discuss finances and budgeting. I shared with my girls the importance of “paying yourself first”, even if its pennies from your paycheck, in order to have savings for emergencies.
Sessions with our girls end abruptly; schools are closing a pandemic is killing thousands of people. So much anxiety-so much uncertainty. I miss my girls. We were just getting to know each other. I knew each of their names, their interests, their individual personalities, and how amazing they are. Oh, how much I support them and am excited for their futures. I was robbed, we were robbed. I cry missing them and building my relationships with them. I wonder if they are feeling the same way?
I send a text to see how they are doing. Within a nanosecond, every girl texted back. They are all doing well. They miss me too. They miss Ophelia. We send group text and individual text week after week. I host a zoom meeting so we can continue to connect and I can see their beautiful faces.
While shopping at the Dollar Tree store I find the most precious decorative boxes. Hmmm, let’s fill the box with trinkets, my girls would love these; all the girls in our session would love them! No problem, I‘ll buy 32 boxes, assemble them and drive to deliver each box to each girl. Yeah, I can see and connect with my girls again. I want to tell them how much I miss them and hope they come back to Ophelia next year.
One of my girls, tells me she is not living at home and is living way out in Thermal with her Grandma during Shelter-at-Home as her Grandma lives alone and she wants to be there for her. She understands how far the drive is and doesn’t expect me to drive out to her. She tells me it is easy to get lost finding her Grandma’s house. Yikes, did I get lost. I call, Grandma gets on the phone to give me directions. After a lot of gravel rock dirt roads, narrow curves, and white handwritten signs on the roadside, I see 2 women waving, all 4 arms and hands up in the air.
We run towards each other in a huge bear hug embrace. From every direction dogs & goats are running towards us. There are date palm trees everywhere. Turns out Grandma has a Medjool Date Farm where she lives in a trailer on the property. My gal educates me on the process of growing dates. Grandma and I talk about date recipes. Food is an international language that bonds people. We all have so much to talk about. We are happy and sharing our thoughts and feelings for well over an hour.
We discuss the impact of Covid-19 has had on people and how important the last meeting was in our Ophelia session regarding budgeting and saving for a rainy day. I was deeply touched when my gal asked me how I was doing personally and financially during this time. I had to fight back the tears. I was moved that this young woman has so much empathy and is thoughtful, kind, and caring beyond her teenage years.
Then Grandma excuses herself and comes back with an 11 lb box of gigantic Medjool dates gifting them to me. They were the largest dates I have ever seen. My gal mentions she personally packed the box of dates. I felt this gift was too generous. This family has so very little and gave me so much.
I am the lucky one to be part of these young women’s lives. It is a true gift to watch them blossom into fine young women.