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Challenge: Back to School 2021

Being a parent just got harder

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Being a parent just got harder.

Just? I know you're laughing at that statement or scoffing at it, even maybe?

We all know that 2020 packed a punch with the arrival of coronavirus in the U.S. and our neighborhoods, schools and homes.

It brought with it a beating, but a beating that did seem to finally let up ever so slightly before the summer of 2021.

And with that little bit of sunshine and light at the end of the tunnel, most of us very Covid-conscious people let our guard down a bit. Not entirely, but down some.

And, with much hesitation and fear, we decided to send our kids back to in-person learning.

And here we are,

on day five of school,

and my oldest, my soon-to-be middle schooler,

is in quarantine.

Not because she is Covid positive

-- a rapid I scoured to get today confirmed she’s negative --

but because she is a close contact of one or two or many others (I'm not so sure) in her class who did test positive.

Guess what, though?

And I hesitate to say this because I might be in the minority here, but I still think I made the right decision to send my ten, seven, and five-year-old back to their brick-and-mortar for the 2021-2022 school year.

The safest?

That I don't know.

In looking out for their mental and emotional health, and social well-being, heck yes. They need to be around other children.

For their physical health? Only time will tell.

And while they are in school, they are doing their best to stay masked-up for most of the school day.

As annoying as it is.

As hot as it is.

And we live in 'effin Florida, so it's freakin’ sweltering.

My kids are doing their due diligence to help themselves and their classmates where they can, but what stinks is that not everyone is.

And one person's lack of safeguards it's another person's positive test or call to quarantine.

Listen. I know how freaking riled up everyone is about the vaccine and mask mandates and that we all have different beliefs when it comes to where we stand on those things.
But I do think..

I hope...

I pray really freaking hard that there is a singular common ground amongst all parents across the globe, which is that all children deserve to be kept safe and what we know is that


social distancing measures,

and a plethora of other smart family and community choices keep them safe.

If not for my kid

or for your kid

who might very well get coronavirus and be asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms,

then for your neighbor’s kid

or your sister’s

or your friend's kid who has underlying health conditions

or for the mom who's perfectly healthy child could end up on a ventilator because corona is so freaking random and terribly, her kid just happens to be that domino.

When all of these measures are put in place with zero regard for
how much it's going to cost

a county school board

or a state

or even the federal government,

and it only costs each and every one of us the very incredibly minor inconvenience of wearing a piece of cloth with ear loops on our face, at the minimum, and maybe two shots in the arm, if were feeling gracious,

then I feel like that is something we can handle.

I feel like that's something we should all want to handle, especially if it means that little Johnny and little Sally

-- whose parents both feel very differently about who should be president, which political party is really “for the people, ” and whether this virus is “real” --

both get to keep on living.

As for those of you that don't think covid is a real thing, or as big of a deal as I am clearly insinuating, I know you've probably stopped reading before this point anyway...

or maybe you've kept reading so that you can verbally attack me in the comments below...

or maybe you'll just unfollow me...

but if I somehow managed to keep you reading, here's why it's real, and here's why each of us making choices for the greater good matters:

Because kindness matters.

Because goodwill towards others matters.

Because helping your different-minded neighbor matters.

Because anything that can save a single life matters.

Being a parent just got harder because instead of just looking out for our own kids we’ve got to look out for all the children of the world.

It's a big responsibility, and though none of us are looking for any more of those, this one has fallen into our laps and we need to treat it with the same care we give our own children when they climb in it.

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