Updated: November 25, 2020 10:51 PM
Created: November 25, 2020 10:38 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the midst of all the struggles and uncertainty brought on by the unprecedented global pandemic, one specific group of people have been setting a good example of how to navigate it—kids.
Jenniyah Sanchez, 9, of Belen has been rolling with the punches of the pandemic since the beginning.
"When COVID started spreading more, we had to wear masks and it was kind of like, another, it was like an obstacle course,” she said. “Like, we have to make one step at a time"
Jenniyah has been documenting her experiences during the pandemic in a journal. From masks to quarantining—she’s got it all down.
"But I call it my book because it's my coronavirus book and I even put ‘written by and illustrated by’ and journals don't have that. Journals are just, kind of like a diary. You just write all your stuff in it,” she said.
The biggest conflict in Jenniyah’s storyline highlights the most basic of human needs.
"When we were leaving school I was like, I want to break the rules of the virus and hug you,” she said. “Yeah. It's hard. Like she said, I was born a hugger."
Jenniyah’s nana described the situation perfectly.
"In a lot of aspects I think the kids are more mature than we, as adults, are,” said Geri Lynn.
"It's a huge burden placed upon them, and they seem to do it with a smile on their face,” she added.
Just 50 miles north in Rio Rancho is yet another example of that maturity and grace.
When 14-year-old Lea Calderon isn’t making YouTube videos, or figuring out her first year of high school, she’s definitely with her dad Jose.
"We're pretty close,” she said. “We like to be around each other. He understands how I am, and I understand how he is.”
Her dad’s outlet for escaping this nightmare of a year used to be riding his motorcycle. That was until he was hit by a suspected drunk driver in September.
"My mom kept getting phone calls, but she didn't recognize the number,” Lea said. "The number called like three times, and she said there must be something going on.”
The crashed left Jose with severe injuries and internal bleeding. Because of COVID, Lea and her family couldn’t visit him in the hospital.
"At night I would lie there in bed and think, 'Am I going to see him the next day? Is he ok? Is he going to heal fast?'" Lea said.
The suspected drunk driver who hit Jose Calderon was just arrested again last week on more drunk driving charges.
Jose, now back home, is still healing. It’s unknown when he’ll be recovered enough to get back on the job as a mechanic. His family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the mounting bills.
In the midst of all the turmoil of the crash and its aftermath, Lea has continued with her virtual learning and hasn’t missed a single class.
"Having to be able to handle him plus schoolwork, so I'm like, that's pretty cool that I'm able to do that,” she said. “Not many other people could say the same.”
Most people have heard the cliché phrase of “acting like a child” that’s used when adults don’t agree with each other, or when someone doesn’t “get their way”. But in some cases, maybe people could benefit from following these kids’ example.
Looking at this mess from a kid’s perspective isn’t possible for most people when livelihoods and lives are on the line. Then there’s still the question of whether people will ever return to the point of liking each other after this is all over.
"It kind of hurts a little bit because, you know, well you're acting like a kid. Well, what kid do you mean?" Lea said.
Kids like Jenniyah and Lea are just two reminders that we do have control over some things in this struggle, like our attitudes and how we treat others.
And perhaps one day, if we’re really that lucky, we can all just act like a kid again.
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