Today, Monday, was the start of my 8-year-old’s first full week of school. The first two days was a beautiful and overwhelming flood of humanity. We ALL showed up for our little people.
Today, while there are less bodies, parents are still reconnecting on the blacktop. I think we need this in-person back-to-school experience as much as our kids. A dad found me this morning, reminding me that the last time we spoke, we were speculating about the school’s closing. That was early in March 2020, days before the Bay Area lockdown. Our kids were then in first grade where we both volunteered. And here they are now in 3rd grade. Seeing him again made me want to weep—I so missed talking to him every morning! I would have hugged him if we were still doing that kind of thing. It is remarkable how much the time passing is both elongated and compressed.
The consensus among us on this third day is that we feel this raw anxiety that has no where to go. Those of us who have been so cautious now feel helpless, surrendering our children’s safety to our school community. It is so hard to trust: that this is the right thing, that other families will be as diligent with vaccinations, masking and hand washing.
Luckily our kids so far are keeping to the “bubbles” we established through our masked outdoor play dates over the past year and a half. And my son has reported that most kids are wearing their masks at recess (that’s optional in our district).
So for now, at least, we will continue to surrender to the flow of this river that is the pandemic, moving through currents of nauseous dread and giddy excitement, hoping we can keep our children’s and our own heads above water.