Back in March a few days before lockdown or safer at home or quarantine or whatever it is we are calling this started. I remember thinking “it will be fine, we’ll stay home for a few weeks things will surely get better”. Boy was I wrong. As my husband likes to say every time someone makes a stupid comment, “that’s not how viruses work”.
So when we started distance learning in mid-March I was pretty sure that it was going to be longer than 2 weeks but surely not longer than spring break, surely not the rest of the school year. But, alas this whole school year has been wiped away like the Lysol wipes I was using to wipe down my groceries at the beginning of this nightmare.
This year it’s distance learning. It’s Zoom calls and related arts day. It’s scrambling from my own Zoom call to make sure my son is ready for his. It’s watching our kids become more connected on electronics and less connected in person. It’s turning off the news and trying to explain to kids why their Grandfather can golf with 70 other people but they can’t go to school. It’s protests about hair cuts but no one talking about what is happening to our kids. It’s the saying “kids are resilient” that runs through my mind like nails on a chalkboard.
Yes, kids are resilient. More so than the rest of us. Not once has my son complained about not being able to go to school. Not once has he complained about not being able to see his friends. Not once has he whined about needing a hair cut or that we haven’t been able to go out to eat. Kids adapt, better than adults.
But resilience isn’t enough. Not after 2+ months of being at home.
While going to pick strawberries the other day with our masks in hand I asked my son how he was doing with everything. He said he mostly feels sad. He misses school, he misses his friends, he misses riding the bus and ignoring the noisy kids in the back, he misses complaining about Italian Breadsticks for lunch, he misses recess, he misses all of it. “Mom, he said, I was having such a great year and then it was just over”
And it breaks my heart. He won’t get his third grade year back. He won’t get to say goodbye to his class. He won’t get to be clapped out of his elementary school.
So while people argue about what we should open and what we should do and if we should wear masks. Let’s think about resilience. Let’s think about our kids. Let’s figure out how to give them a bit of normal. This pandemic has had so many awful repercussions. Let’s not let our kids be one of them. Just because they are being strong and resilient and adapting doesn’t mean that they are fine. Let’s be strong, resilient, and learn to adapt so that our kids can have a better future. This virus isn’t going to “just go away” and we need to do better for these kids than we are currently doing.
I wrote these words in May. And maybe then I had a shred of hope that things would be different in June or July or August… but here we are on the cusp of September and nothing has changed. Except now my son won’t get to meet his 4th grade teacher in person, he won’t get to ride the bus, he won’t get to start at the school that he had been so excited to go to since first grade.
The world will spin on. People will shop and travel and go to Disney World. They will wear masks or maybe they won’t. They will throw parties and say, “I’m not going to let this stop me from living my life” all with little regard for how the lives of our children are forever being shaped.
Sure kids are resilient but right now they need more than resilience, they need adults willing to make hard decisions and sacrifices so that they can get back to some sense of normal.