When there was something and suddenly isn’t, an absence shouts, celebrates, and leaves a space.
-Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year”
In the category of “there are no good options,” we decided to only send Autumn to preschool for half days. By doing this, we can pick her up before lunchtime so she doesn’t have to remove her mask at all while she’s there.
2020 was a rough year overall. We were in near-isolation from March 12th onward, not wanting to take any chances with Covid. We only saw family via Zoom. I had a few gatherings with friends in our backyard with the proper amount of space between us. That was it; I can probably count on one hand the number of people we had meaningful face-to-face connections with once the pandemic really exploded in the United States.
November was a difficult month. My 4-year-old was under a period of quarantine for 10 days after direct exposure to someone who tested positive for Covid-19 at her preschool. My 9-year-old woke up one morning with a sore throat — necessitating a rapid antigen test before he could return to school. My husband also woke up feeling crummy one morning so he dashed off to get a test prior to sending any of the kids to school for the day.
When my kids were doing remote learning last year, it felt like an impossible choice between their physical health and mental health. I knew that the odds of my kids getting very sick or dying from Covid were slim; I was almost more worried about Ger or I getting sick and something happening to one of us. So we followed every rule and isolated our family from other people for more than a year.
It’s 3:30 pm on a Monday. My 4th grader should be just wrapping up his school day. My 6th grader wraps up half an hour earlier and the 4-year-old finishes preschool at 4:00 p.m. But today, all three kids are home.