Today is the day! It’s finally here. Although if it were a year ago, my sense of peace and serenity in this moment would be a little easier, not slightly clouded by a thought that something could go wrong. The first day of school.
Even as thoughts of possible COVID situations appear like unwanted wasps circling my head, I have been laser focused on this day for weeks, the day when one very important part of all our lives returns to some semblence of a different kind of normal. In-person school.
The pros and cons have been considered. The school plan studied, questioned and verified, giving weight to the decision to send our son back to school where he was a once thriving student who loved to learn. The year feels like the freshest start we have ever needed after months of home/online school, a dearth of activities to keep us occupied over the summer months, and spending altogether too much time together in close quarters.
Don’t get me wrong, there has been an absolute upside to the derailment of the life we were leading pre-COVID. Rarely did we have time to sit around the kitchen table for a meal as activities kept us moving most evenings of the week followed by weekend after weekend of more activities. It left us all so exhausted that when everything shut down in an instant, we all fell like soldiers who’d been enduring a lengthy battle without rest.
Savoring time together, watching every Marvel movie, every episode of The Office, flexing my cooking muscle that had long been atrophied from disuse and trying new dishes over our weeks of quarantine and then sitting down together to catch up. Wonderful! Escaping to Florida when the weather insisted it wasn’t going to change from winter to spring and since school was online, what did it matter if we were in New York or Florida? Bliss.
But honestly, online school was no fun for any of us. How anyone could focus while a screen full of teenage boys displayed their utter lack of disinterest by playing with light sabers, smacking gum and hiding themselves in a pile of blankets (that would be my kid) is beyond me. I was never far from these Zoom classes and could hear the teacher for the fourth time say, John, you know I can see you, in a plaintive voice that says, no, none of us likes this but here we are.
Motivation did not exist during COVID online school. It was a long drawn out marathon of parenting that employed tactics such as pressuring, pleading and threatening loss of electronics. It tore us all down, piece by piece until we’d finally have to wipe the slate clean and begin again. Guys, it was hard. And I only have one kiddo. And I didn’t have to work during this stressful time as I know many other parents did. Believe me, I know, it could have been a lot worse.
So the day has arrived that I had circled with a glowing yellow highlighter in my mind when I learned school would re-open. I’d like to say that at least we survived online school, but there is this little niggle in the back of my brain that says don’t get too comfortable that this is going to continue as is. COVID remains a big question mark and though our area has under a 1% positive rate of infection, the tides can turn in an instant. But for now I will savor this one beautiful day.