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Challenge: Back to School 2021

Just writing this gives me anxiety

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I have two kids in school. My daughter will be in 8th grade this year and my son is starting 2nd grade. It's been almost two years since either of them were in school because they have both been remote learning since March, 2020.

Unfortunately for my son, being pulled out of school is all he's known so far. In preschool, he was sick so much that it got to the point where we decided to keep him home for the rest of the year.

He was halfway through Kindergarten when schools closed down because of the pandemic. At least my daughter had a chance to know what regular life was like during her elementary school years.

They both did great with remote learning from an academic standpoint. My son passed all of his classes and my daughter was on the honor roll and actually made it into the National Junior Honor Society. I couldn't have been more proud of them. They persevered through the most difficult times and did better than I would have ever asked for.

If you looked beyond the grades, you could see that they were actually struggling and so was I. My heart broke for them knowing how much they needed the social interaction that they were missing. My son loves playing with kids his age and my daughter was just starting to find her way with making new friends when quarantine started.

We stayed home like we were supposed to, avoided going anywhere we didn't need to, and played in our backyard or went for walks. Playing games over video chat became the normal routine with family and friends.

I've always had problems with anxiety and this pandemic has hit me hard. Trying to decide what's best for my kids, how to keep them safe physically while considering their mental health, all while the news constantly changed around us has felt like an impossible situation.

I'll admit that having them home helped with my nerves. Knowing they were safe allowed me to breathe much easier. Then there were times when we were given the option to change to a hybrid schedule and the guilt would kick in. Cases were never low enough in our area for us to feel comfortable switching from what we were doing but I still questioned if I was doing what was best for them.

Summertime came and things were looking up. Cases were really low in our area. We went on a few much needed camping trips and got a pool installed in our yard. Life was almost feeling back to normal in some ways. That lasted for a few amazing weeks.

Now we are approaching a new school year full of uncertainty. Cases are starting to go up again and it feels like this nightmare is starting all over. My kids can't go another year of learning from home and I'm going to need to dig deep to make it through the thought of them at school while all of this is still going on.

So we will buy the school supplies, go clothes shopping, and have our masks ready for whatever is going to happen. Just writing this gives me anxiety but I'm trying to stay optimistic that this will be over someday.

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