Social Distancing: Week 6
One step at a time. That’s the key, isn’t it? It’s an answer you often hear when people are asked how they’ve done something that seems hard. One step at a time.
I keep hearing the “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” reference in regards to our current situation. I latched on to that pretty early. I thought in weeks, not days, and set summer as a light at the end of the tunnel. By summer, surely, things will be back to normal. I can keep this going until summer.
Now, the discussions are starting. What does reopening look like? When will it be safe for life as we knew it to resume? When the NC governor announced our phased reopening plan this week, I expected to feel a small sense of relief. A plan, something to measure by, an end in sight. Instead, I felt a little panicked. With several at-risk family members, being home—while challenging at times—has also felt like a security blanket. We are safe here. When we return to life outside the walls of our home, will we still be safe? How long after things start to reopen should we wait before venturing out? There are still so many questions, and not a lot of good answers. The idea of packing my kids in the minivan and heading to Target to casually stroll the aisles, or heading to a nearby park where my children will interact with other children and potentially be exposed—it’s terrifying.
Equally as terrifying is the idea that we could go on like this until 2021, sequestered in our silos, waiting out this virus that has dramatically changed our world. This week, I heard of a Christmas event that has already been cancelled. Universities are discussing the option of an online fall semester and charts and graphs floating around are showing second and third waves that take us into 2021.
While I’ve adjusted to the reality of the rest of this school year being virtual, watching the governor announce this week that the schools would be closed for the rest of the year was heartbreaking. I expected the announcement and even if school did start back this year, my kids probably would stay home. I already knew that my preschooler wouldn’t be going back, so I didn’t expect the tears that sprang to my eyes as my six year old and I listened to the governor announce that the remainder of the school year would be virtual. It didn’t seem to phase him, but as he intently watched the announcement, I thought back to the first day of school this year. His first day of kindergarten, a day of transitions and new beginnings, nervousness and excitement. I never would have guessed that his kindergarten year would end like this. I thought back to the last week of in-person school, talking with friends after school about the possibilities of school being cancelled for a few weeks because of this looming threat of COVID-19. I never thought that would be the last week this school year that I would go through the drop off line or park to chat after carpool. I never could have imagined that his last day of kindergarten would be virtual.
I hope they can go back to school in the fall. I’ve found a lot of silver linings and loved a lot of things about our time at home together, but I also know how much my kids thrive in the school environment, and I want that for them. I love seeing the fun they are having together, the memories they are making with each other, but I want them to see their friends and teachers, to enjoy all the things they love about school that just don’t translate virtually.
What will our new normal look like? When will we get there? The more I think about it, the more stressful it is, and so, we’ll go on the only way I know how. One day, one step, one virtual kindergarten assignment and one video chat with a teacher at a time.