Dear Son #1,
Two years ago everything stopped. Suddenly, mercilessly and injected with an immense amount of fear, it all stopped. It was as if Gru had taken his Freeze Ray gun thing to the world and left us all standing there in place, blinking in panic but unable to react appropriately or even at all. Alexander was 11 months old and William was 2 1/2 years old so they don’t remember what it was like. But you were 4 years old and in your first year of Kindergarten. You remember.
The schools instantly shut down and your teachers scrambled to try to find a way to teach their lessons through a computer screen rather than a classroom. Parents everywhere had to suddenly figure out how to work from home while teaching their children how to use computers and many of your classmates went without school for the remainder of the year because in many households this wasn’t possible. We had to clumsily navigate the world of online learning while trying to keep ourselves safe, healthy and in good spirits—it was a near impossible task. For the remainder of that year and the one following that we learned at home, combining virtual class with worksheets, crafts, reading, experiments the best we could as we tried desperately not to lose our marbles. If we got through a day without crying or fighting, it was a good day. When school started again this past September, we couldn’t be excited enough and both were counting down the days—you were so happy to get on that bus, and boy, I was happy about it too. You couldn’t wait to see your friends and teachers in person, sit in the classroom to learn, and do recess with someone else other than your little brothers. They, of course, don’t remember much of those days, nor do they remember what it was like to go to school “Pre-Covid” as the term goes. But you remember.
Many have referred to the last two years as an “introvert’s dream come true”. No obligatory family reunions, gatherings, parties, weddings, play dates, or meetings where you have to put on pants. You and I, however, are not introverts. Many days I felt like we were sadly looking out the window watching the rain—picture a 90’s Romcom—waiting for it to be over, waiting for life to go back to normal again. We missed our friends, we missed our family, we missed being in large groups and we missed being in small groups. We missed being able to play, talk, hug and just be with other people. We were on edge, irritable and our tanks were empty from the lack of social time that our overwhelming personalities so desperately needed. We longed for the days when things were simple yet so unappreciated—when we could meet friends at the playground, go to a birthday party, or just play with our cousins. The need felt like a heaviness that couldn’t be lifted, no matter how many “virtual playdates” or “video girls nights” we tried. You would ask me daily when we could see people again and, exhausted from the strain of being shut in, I would reply with a sigh that I didn’t know yet. But soon I hoped. Your brothers don’t remember that heavy feeling that could not be lifted while we were all in isolation or even what it was like before the restrictions came into play. But you remember.
On the way to school lately you’ve been telling me that you are hating having to wear a mask. And dude, I don’t blame you one bit. They are a pain in the butt and you have to wear glasses too so you’re basically spending seven hours a day, five days a week in a literal fog. But probably the hardest part is that, unlike your brothers, you remember a time when you didn’t have to “mask up” in order to go into a grocery store or when you weren’t reminded endlessly to put it over your nose or switch it for a clean one. Alexander knows nothing of a world without masks, William might vaguely recollect one, but you remember.
You remember a time when we could go to the playground without me having tell you to “keep your distance” from the other kids. You remember a time when hand sanitizer was only used after using a public outhouse. You remember a time when you could actually see your teacher’s faces instead of them being hidden behind masks and goggles. You remember a time where if you forgot to cover your mouth when you sneezed you didn’t get raked through the coals. You apparently even remember a time when Daddy didn’t have a beard but I don’t think I even remember that.
I wish your young mind didn’t have to ponder such words and phrases like social distancing, stop the spread, protect others and wear a mask, PCR/Rapid test, virtual learning, variant, or vaccinations. I wish you didn’t know what school was like before so that you didn’t have to go through a whole year and a half of virtual learning, knowing what you were missing out on. I wish you didn’t have to miss out on birthday parties, swimming lessons, play places, church picnics and the Barrie Fair. I wish, like William and Alexander, you didn’t remember what it was like before, but alas, I don’t have the Neuralyzer from Men in Black so we don’t have that option.
I want to say it’s all going to be normal from now on but I can’t promise that. I want to say we don’t ever have to hear about “The Bad Cold” anymore and let’s just throw those masks out because it’s all over, but I know that won’t be the case. I want to say you’re not behind in school from such a messed up two years, but you are, and that’s okay because you’ll catch up. You all will.
I don’t want you to remember solely all the bad things about these last two years, as there were good things too. Things your brothers probably won’t remember such as all the time we were able to spend together as a family and having time for things that would normally not be high on our priority list. With every weekend free from social obligations, we were able to be at our trailer more than we have ever been, therefore away from the clutches of technology, social media and the dreaded news. As tough as the schooling was for us, it wasn’t all bad. We made so many cool crafts, tried so many messy science experiments, read so many great books, and watched some very cool videos. It wasn’t all bad, and that, I do want you to remember.
As hard as it is for me to watch you struggle with the memories of life before Covid while you navigate life with Covid, it is important you remember these times as you are basically living through what will be one day looked back on as a crucial part of history. And while that may not seem important at the moment, it will be one day. So for that reason alone, I want you to remember.
Love my blogs? I do too! Please share the love ~ subscribe, like, share ~
Don’t love my blogs? Well, maybe you shouldn’t read them anymore but you can still ~ subscribe, like, share ~