‘I Took Baking With My Grandma For Granted. … I Won’t Ever Take It For Granted Again’

Ellis Curry, 9, says despite the stress of this year, she’s learned gratitude for family and friends.

A photo of the author in front of handwriting
Courtesy of Ellis’ mom Julia Brenner. Illustration by Jessica Martinaitis.
A photo of the author in front of handwriting
Courtesy of Ellis’ mom Julia Brenner. Illustration by Jessica Martinaitis.

‘I Took Baking With My Grandma For Granted. … I Won’t Ever Take It For Granted Again’

Ellis Curry, 9, says despite the stress of this year, she’s learned gratitude for family and friends.

I am Ellis. I am nine years old and I have lived through COVID-19 for a whole year, just like you.

One of the things that I’ve learned this year is that in hard times like these, it’s hard to stay on track. There is so much you need to think about, things to be scared of, but also, things to be grateful for.

This year has been stressful. You almost feel like it’s a very bad dream and you want to wake up.

Whenever I see the pile of masks in my kitchen, I always want to cry. Most of the time, I don’t, because I know soon it will be over. But whenever I think it will be over, I think, “When? When will it be over?”

Then I remember that I have to wear these masks to make it go away faster. I wear these masks to keep people safe, and when I see other people wearing masks it makes me feel safe, too.

When this is all over, I will finally be able to see that pile of masks and sigh with relief because all of that chaos, sadness and stress will be over.

Living through this year has helped me realize that whenever I saw my grandparents and traveled to visit them, I took it all for granted.

I took baking with my grandma for granted. I took going to go visit my grandparents in Iowa for granted. I won’t ever take it for granted again.

I also loved having sleepovers with my friends and because of COVID I haven’t been able to do that. Instead, we play games or watch movies online together. It’s fun, but after COVID I will be even more grateful for in-person sleepovers.

On the bright side, I can still go to parks with my friends — I just have to wear a mask and social distance. I can still do Zoom dinners with my grandparents. Even though we’re separated it doesn’t mean there is no possible way to be together.

I have also realized that I will be so grateful to give hugs to anyone. I will be so grateful just to be able to walk down my sidewalk without a mask, to see neighbors and people going about their day.

But most of all, I am more grateful for my family and friends than anything in the whole world.

They have all gotten me through this difficult year and have shown me that, as long as we have each other, we can get through anything.

About the author: Ellis Curry is a 9-year-old living in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago with her parents and her brother, Thomas.

Mariah Woelfel produced this story for audio. Follow her @MariahWoelfel. Jessica Martinaitis and Mary Hall produced this for digital. Follow them @jess_morgan and @hall_marye.