The late summer days are here. In the South and Midwest, school has started. My kids go back next week.
Usually, this is a liminal time – of winding up and winding down, simultaneously. Of excitement and sadness. We’re at the height of the dog days of summer, but they’re tempered by the return of the school bus. I feel the pull in both directions, to busier and more active days, but also to slow down and take in what’s left of the season. Even though I’m not a “summer person,” I try to savor it. The expiration date makes it that much sweeter. I like to watch the sunset, appreciate the golden light of the sun as the day fades and the edge dulls on the heat.
This year there’s a fear around the return to school. My daughter’s favorite peers are staying home to start the year with remote schooling. It’s an option I prefer for our family, too, but isn’t feasible unless it becomes a requirement. In fact, I’m not-so-secretly hoping the school has to flip to their remote plan from August to October. If I was the stay-at-home parent, I’d have already made the decision and taken responsibility for guiding my children’s education.
The elephant in the room is, of course, Covid-19. Coronavirus. And people who aren’t qualified to speak authoritatively on the pandemic would have us think it doesn’t affect children or doesn’t affect them as badly. This is flat-out wrong. No one is immune and no one knows the extent to which they will be affected.
I do believe the school district has our kids’ interests at heart, but I have zero faith in the governor, let alone the person currently referred to as the president. We’re lucky in one respect: we live in a rural town and our case count has been low. That doesn’t mean we’re immune, though. Far from it, especially with Omaha so close!
So I’m going to hold my kids close, make sure their masks fit properly, and keep them in our little bubble as much as possible while making the attempt to live a somewhat normal life. We’ll go out and watch the sunsets together and hope that next year’s golden August days will come with less uncertainty and more contentment.