Life changing conversations


Melina Ramirez

Taking small moments to pause and wind down with family can make a difference in relationships. After listening it will look a little bit brighter everyday.

This past year has been surprising to say the least. With each passing month more things seem to be happening, but my family of four have held through it all. Despite us being sick of staying at home, we didn’t and aren’t leaving it until the pandemic calms down. We have been doing pretty well despite the circumstances, so imagine how shocked I was when my dad told me his small company almost went out of business in 2020.  

I was in the car on my way to the doctors with my dad when I found out. The conversation went like this: 

“We almost bottom-upped.”


“It was a close call.”

“… What?”

“It was good we were eligible for government support systems.”

“Wait, what?”

I was like a fish out of water; my mouth kept opening and closing. I was beyond perplexed. I didn’t know whether to be angry at him for telling me eight months after the fact or to be angry at myself for not having this conversation with him eight months sooner. The car was quiet the rest of the way to the hospital. The doctor’s visit was uneventful and on the car ride home my dad and I managed to find a less depressing topic to talk about. 

We used to eat dinner and discuss what was happening around us, now our dinners are filled with brooding silence—if we even have dinner together. ”

— Melina Ramirez

But I was still left wondering, the ordeal left so many questions in my head: Did my mom know? Did my sister know? Why did I only find out months after the fact? I didn’t even have a full grasp on how serious the situation was; was my dad at the edge of unemployment? Was the pandemic just a small scare for his company?

It’s hard to even think about it, but since then I’ve thought a lot about how I found out. In general, my parents don’t hide anything from my sister and me so it wasn’t exactly a secret. The only reason I ultimately found out was because I actually got to converse with my dad. It’s not that I don’t talk with my family—I do—but since the pandemic started it’s been getting harder to carry a conversation without bombs exploding. 

I’m sure my family isn’t the only one experiencing a tense atmosphere. Staying at home with the same people has made things difficult, especially since my family gets easily irritated. While I can’t say that it’s entirely the pandemic’s fault for making our living situation tense, I can say it just made living with my family difficult. 

I don’t talk with the people living with me as much as I used to. We used to eat dinner and discuss what was happening around us, now our dinners are filled with brooding silence—if we even have dinner together. 

I don’t find the importance in telling my mom what I’m doing in school because nothing interesting is happening. I can’t tell my grandma all the things I do with my friends because I haven’t seen them in months. I’m not talking to my family because I have nothing to talk about. I however didn’t think of them; just because I don’t have anything to say to them doesn’t mean they don’t have things they want to tell me. 

While the news from my dad was shocking, after some self reflection, I started to realize that the reason I hadn’t heard of my dad’s situation sooner was because I never bothered to ask him. I knew that small businesses were drowning amidst the pandemic and still didn’t think that I should ask my dad how he was doing. 

This isn’t exclusive to my immediate family; I have a lot of relatives that I stopped seeing because of the pandemic who seems to just be waiting for me to talk to them. Especially now that I do have a lot more time on my hands, it shouldn’t kill me to take 20 minutes out of my day to call my grandma and ask how she is doing. 

I’m probably not the only teenager who’s thought about this predicament. Though there’s everyday factors that distract from the end goal, I like to think that it would not only make my day better but also the day of whoever I’m calling’s day better. 

I haven’t been consistent, but I did call my grandma some days ago asking how she was feeling and if there was anything new going on—there wasn’t, but that brought up new things to talk about. And you know what? It was a really nice conversation.