By Shelley Hubal
“Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?”
With empathy, the beloved Sesame Street character Elmo posted this question recently on the social media platform X and opened a floodgate. More than 13,000 people responded and the post was viewed more than 180 million times.
Thousands of the responses described honest feelings of anxiety, depression and pain. It is clear Americans are feeling overwhelmed. With the United States at risk of being pulled into a war in the Middle East, the cost of living on the rise, daily reminders of the crisis in Gaza, election year drudgery and so much more, it is no wonder many adults used a sweet Muppet friend to unload on.
Many opined that it is the innocence of Elmo that paved the way for the plethora of responses, but I wonder if it is simply that so few of us have someone in our lives that asks, “How are you, really?” Furthermore, few have the courage to share their honest feelings with someone they know.
Thanks for starting the conversation, Elmo, and for reminding us all to be patient with one another and to check in on our loved ones and neighbors. I will add to the conversation by saying with honesty, “I am tired, but I know that each day brings new opportunities to grow more loving as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, leader and human. Also, a little chocolate in the afternoon really helps!”