A Letter to My Daughter

You won’t remember the pandemic. There are some things you should know.

Craig Spencer MD MPH

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You hiking in the woods—March 2021

You’ve lived half your life inside this pandemic. But you will have no memory of any of this. How I envy you.

It’ll be a long time before you’ll know what a virus is or how much this past year upended our lives. This letter is for when you’re old enough to understand.

Just a few days ago, you got together with friends you haven’t seen since the pandemic started. You were bursting with joy, a huge smile on your face, as you all ran around screaming and chasing after each other.

Watching you that day reminded me of how much you’ve grown since Covid changed everything.

When you’re older, you might hear people refer to this time as a ‘lost year’. But for our family, it was when we really found each other.

We had a pretty normal life before the pandemic turned everything upside down. I was away often, either working a long shift in the emergency room, teaching, or traveling abroad for research. Your mom took the subway to midtown Manhattan every day for work. With pressing deadlines and train delays, we often rushed to pick you up on time from daycare.

In March 2020, everything changed. For the next 7 months, you were at our side every waking moment of every day.

I won’t pretend it was easy. As anyone who parented during the pandemic knows, it was rough at times. Juggling work and keeping you entertained was a constant struggle. It weighed on our family, and it undoubtedly weighed on you, even if you were too young to tell us.

I constantly worried about keeping you safe. I recoiled every time I walked in the house after treating Covid patients in the emergency room and you tried to hug me. I can’t imagine how confusing that must’ve been for you. I was so afraid I’d infect you with the virus I was trying so desperately to protect you from.

But with time, we found a rhythm. I watched you grow, up-close and in awe of how quickly it happened. I learned everything about you and taught you everything you could absorb. I discovered how you’re only ticklish under your chin. And how you laughed every time you pulled the loose screw from the panel in…

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Craig Spencer MD MPH

ER doctor | Ebola Survivor | Public Health Professor at Brown University | A Few Other Things