My kids need a little normalcy
On March 13th, it will be two years since our school shut down and the whole world went haywire. I remember that day so well. I thought we would be shutting down for a couple of weeks to protect the older people in this country. I was optimistic. I was naïve. I was wrong.
My kids lost months of school, and that’s better than most kids.
My kids lost birthday parties and field trips they will never get to make up.
My kids lost camp, sleepovers, trips to the local pool, ice skating, theater, dance assembly, playdates, indoor soccer, and carpools.
My kids lost years of seeing their cousins because they live an airplane ride away.
Zoey hasn’t been able to choose where she sits for lunch, which seems tiny, but really it’s a big deal when you’re in junior high and your friendships are constantly changing.
Holden’s had to eat his lunch sitting at a desk with a clear partition around him, which is fine, but not nearly as fun as the crazy loud lunchroom he deserves.
They’ve lost movie theaters, sporting events, shopping trips, amusement parks, even friends.
My kids have lost a lot. But I know many families have lost more. I know there are people who are high risk who live in constant fear. I know there are families who’ve lost irreplaceable loved ones to this horrible virus—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babies. I know there are moms and dads who worry about their little children because they can’t get the vaccine yet. I know there are plenty of people who have lost more than my kids. Which is why I’ve tried to protect as many people as I can. By getting my whole family vaccinated and boosted. By staying home when they told us to stay home. By testing when they told us to test. By wearing a mask. By buying more effective, more expensive masks. And countless other things. I can’t tell you how bad I feel for the people who have lost more than me.
But I have to look out for my children. And they need a little normalcy.
Completely back to normal? I doubt it. Normal-ish. But the numbers in our area are super low right now which gives us a window. And I have to let my children put their head out that window and enjoy the fresh air, the breeze, the sunshine, for as long as it lasts. I hope it’s not just a window. I hope it’s a long tunnel of normal that goes on and on and on. But I need to take advantage of this moment in case it doesn’t last. In case another variant pops up to make things go haywire again. My kids need this window.
I know there are plenty of people who can’t put their head out that window yet. People who have good reason to be scared. I wish everyone could go back to normal-ish with us. But for now I need to give my children a little normalcy. They’ve lost so much already. They need it.
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It’s over….it should have never begun for kids. I hope your kids have way MORE than a little “normal”-ish. I hope ALL kids live their lives and go to school, and do ALL the things you mentioned and more. I hope kids are DONE being collateral damage for adults poor decision making and using them as political pawns. I love kids, I will always advocate for them. Adults should act like adults, and more adults should champion the child. Thank you for championing your children in this post.
Bullshit. Your kids aren’t the only ones who’ve lost so much. Think of the kids who are immune compromised and can’t go back to school at all because your kids are not wearing a masks.
This isn’t her fault your attitude and anger towards her is misplaced.
Two grandsons caught the disease in January, likely at school, which at the time had mask mandates in place. I believe because they were vaccinated, their symptoms were relatively mild. No one wants to go through this.
I didn’t read anywhere where she said “only my kids have lost so much”. She actually DID say that, comparatively, others have lost more. Her kids have also worn masks since the beginning so immune compromised kids not going to school is not the fault of her kids not wearing masks. It would be nice if people like you would think about your words before you release the keyboard warrior.
Try reading her full article before replying, so you don’t look like a fool for only replying to the setup, rather than the intent/key point.
As a mom to a little one with a heart transplant, I can tell you that we are still scared…BUT we are going out more now because the numbers are low where we live as well. My oldest no longer wear masks to school…my daughter does because she feels protected and has spent too much time in the hospital and it gives her a feeling of being safe. We live in an area that is very ANTI mask/vaccine/protecting others/caring about others, etc. so we have had to stay home a lot more than normal, but I don’t feel like we missed out on much at all. We have actually grown a lot in the last 2 years and have become closer as a family. I totally get the excitement and I truly hope that it doesn’t prove to be a mistake, but I truly understand and if I had a perfectly healthy family, we would be doing the exact same thing!
We discussed it with our son (then 11) and he preferred to study at home (his mom is a former teacher) & not be exposed to amaskless(then there were no mandates for schools) school that is alreasdy known for parents using it to babysit their sick kids. He’s lost a lot, but like Karen says, others have lost more. We’ll continue to do our part to make it safer for all.
We’re in Chicagoland too, Baby Sideburns, and I’m with you. We seem to be reintroducing “normal” little by little, and it feels great. My youngest (9) just had her first sleepover. My oldest (13) is finally able to do school concerts and clubs again. They’ve had the weirdest two years. Us parents need some normalcy too. We’re both coming out of this a little weirder than when we went in. I just hope we haven’t completely forgotten how to socialize. I’m only half kidding.
I thought a lot of about what my kid “lost” when this first started, but I changed my mindset midway through and think now about what we gained. We became so much closer as a family (her, my husband and me). Between everyone at home for months at a time, to how we changed our vacation style (still went, but we drove–long distances–and rented awesome homes and just relaxed with each other and enjoyed nature by doing remote hikes), we ate better since I had the time (no long commute anymore!) and reason to cook three meals from scratch a day, we started exercising more so got healthier. We gave up a lot of extraneous activities that with clearer eyes were just part of that “you have to be busy all the time” mindset we were in. She finally discovered a love of books, and has read hundreds at this point in the past two years–she’s now reading at a college plus level in 6th grade. If anything, her friendships are stronger because we laxed screen time so she had times where she’d literally spend 12 hours hanging with friends on Facetime. And I am confident this experience has made her a more emphatic community-minded person. Am I glad the world is slowly returning to “normal?” Yes. But I’m also thankful for what we gained during this experience.
I loved what you had to say and I am glad your children can get back to normal-ish!
Thanks for sharing your perspective – it was very kind of you to take the time to acknowledge how others feel and to explain your point of view. I think what’s hard for those of us with kids under 5, for example, is that people removing masks means that our kids are now less safe and their lives are now even “less” normal, despite the reduced case numbers (it only takes contact with one unmasked infectious person to be infected after all). I completely understand and respect the desire to remove masks in extracurriculars, private social activities, and entertainment venues when cases are low, but removing masks in schools will force some families to feel like they have no choice but to pull their older children from school in order to protect their younger siblings, or at the very least for them to have to explain to their older children the need for them to wear their masks even if pressured not to and no one else is, in order keep their younger siblings safe (and that’s a lot of pressure for little shoulders). All parents are tired – parents of bigs and parents of littles – and we all have different experiences during the pandemic. While I’m not shocked that the world has moved on despite the lack of protection for under 5s, it admittedly hurts more to see that even parents of bigs, who were so recently in the same place as us, seem to have forgotten about us parents of littles.
Thank you, Karen, as always, for good insights and emparthy for all parents & children, not only your own house. This is why I’ve been reading you for years & will continue to do so. Lots of love from Vancouver, BC. (Canada)