There isn’t a parent I know who isn’t nervous right now.
As schools reopen, and kids go back to class or learn from home, everyone is grasping onto hope that they’ve made the right choice, that their kids will be okay, that they will learn and get through whatever the near future has for us.
For months and months I, like many parents, have been listening to anger and worry from all sides. Everyone is upset, and rightfully so. Who knows what’s coming in the fall, or how long we’ll be living with COVID? Who knows what the long-term effects on our kids are? The mental health risks?
The only thing that is certain to me right now is that nobody wants this.
Nobody wants this.
Nobody wants kids to be at risk, or teachers to get sick. Nobody wants to un-bubble with grandparents. Nobody wants to live life constantly worrying about mental health and depression. Nobody wants everything cancelled. Nobody wants to keep delivering bad news to the kids. We don’t want teachers to struggle, we don’t want unsafe classrooms. Nobody wants COVID to be a part of our reality. But it is.
It’s here, and, in some respects, it is what it is. That’s not meant to make light of the seriousness we’re all facing, but meant to put a little perspective into our lives right now. It is what it is.
Now, what are we going to do?
For one, I’m going to stress to my kids the importance of wearing masks and washing their hands. I’m going to keep them home if they have even the slightest sniffle. I’m going to kiss the top of their heads every morning like I always do and tell them I love them. And then I’m going to hope, because hope is all I have left.
I’m going to send them to school because it’s right for us. I’m going to respect the decisions of parents who make choices that aren’t the same as mine. I’m going to put my trust in science and Public Health. I’m going to do my part by following the rules and recommendations. And then I’m going to hope.
I’m going to hope one day my kids will go to school and be able to hug the teachers they love so much every year. I’m going to hope their teachers will feel safe. I’m going to hope healthcare workers are safe. I’m going to hope activities open up again and kids can be worry-free, as they’re meant to be. I’m going to hope that I can stop doom-scrolling through the news. That I will wake up without the heavy weight of worry on my shoulders.
There is no denying that things are bad and scary and upsetting. We’re all nervous. We all wish things were different and different decisions were being made. We wish it was easier. That the answers were clear and easy to implement. But the other truth is, nobody has ever done this before. It’s all brand new for everyone.
And while I’m not one to live with my head in the sand, I also can’t continue living in a dark, dark place. I have to let the anger go. I have to come up for air and remind myself of the good things. The little things: like the fantastic summer we had as a family, the joy of a hot cup of coffee in a still, quiet house, the way my daughters’ small arms feel wrapped around my waist when they hug me. I have to grasp onto those things the way I’m grasping onto the hope that, in the end, everything will be okay.
I have to hold onto hope because it’s all I have.