The kids are back in school.
Most of them, anyway – mine included. Last year we tackled remote kindergarten, not without yelling, not without frustration, not without more tears than I’d like to admit. I think I cried more than my son, though.
So here we’ve landed, after 18 months outside of school walls, back in solid tooth-brushing routines and early morning breakfast, reasons to get up every morning and to force the kids to bed at a reasonable time each night (bedtime got ugly there for a while). There’s a collective sigh of relief and a lump catching in our throats simultaneously. I am all at once shaking with excitement and crippling anxiety. My son only looks back at me from his spot on the playground, a smile splashed across his face and his mask hanging from his neck.
The doors are thrown open at the same time each morning and we catch a glimpse of the lunch room. The interior of our childrens schools feel other-wordly now, dare we place a toe over the treshold. We are not allowed inside. Instead we hug and kiss and send them through, past the plexiglass dividers that line the tables for lunchtime seperation. My son tells me, nonchalantly at the end of his first day, about the dividers. “We can talk at lunch, but we have this glass thing between us,” he says, then turns back to his cartoons. I stay stuck on his words.
Should we be worried about them, or us? My son gets excited at the arrival of the new masks he picked out. He asks me to wash them so he can wear one to school tomorrow, as much a part of his outfit choice as picking out his favorite tshirt. “I hate school!” he yells. But only because he has to wake up early.