Sending My Kid to School in a Pandemic

It’s been quite a bit since I’ve written in this space. How many times in nine years have I said that?

It’s safe to say a lot has happened. I’ve changed in a lot of ways, and so has the whole freaking world.

The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 were a really good time for me.  I was finally pain-free after my surgery, I’d resolved to change a few things in my life, and I was well on my way to doing them. I wanted to make more friends, travel more, do more. With Charlotte in preschool five days a week, my productivity was up, which left me more time to spend on myself and re-learn who I am and what I enjoy.

And, like everyone else, all of that was pulled out from under me.

Something a lot of people who know me don’t seem to realize or consider is that I am considered “high risk”. I have “moderate to severe” asthma, and probably lung damage from my health problems several years ago. So when I tell you we take COVID seriously, I mean: we are home, and often nearly isolating. I’m well aware that my friends and family can get COVID and pass it along to us. And I don’t want COVID.

The first few months of the pandemic, I was oddly optimistic. It had to get better, right? Case counts will go down. It will be okay. And that optimism was largely a mode of survival for me. I am a serious introvert, so being home and away from people for a few months isn’t really a big deal for me.

What was a big deal: keeping my kid home with me.

Obviously, I love my child. I fought hard for her to get here. I love time with her. But parenting in a pandemic is not for the faint of heart. If you send your child into the world, you feel guilty. If you keep them home, you feel guilty. Nothing feels right, and you can’t follow your gut when it is in knots.

I worried terribly I was doing the wrong thing by isolating. I worried she’d fall “behind”, struggle, miss out. There was no way I had the capacity to be everything she could need.

And then it was time for preschool to open back up, with all sorts of precautions in place that sound good, and are good, but it is still sending your child to school in a pandemic.

The first day of school, I sobbed after drop off. The next day, I cried still. The rest of the days, I worried. I still worry.

I can’t begin to tell you the difference in her since school has been back. She is happier. She is thriving. And, on the days my anxiety isn’t consuming me, so am I. It all seems worth it and relatively low-risk for this particular school. *knock on wood*

We are lucky it has gone as well as it has, and her school does such a good job. Charlotte is such a good mask wearer and has adapted well.

It’s hard for me to believe in just a few months, she’ll be in kindergarten. I’m not ready, but she seems to be. My hope is that, while I know it will always be hard to send my kid off to school, the world will be in a much better state by then, and my “mom gut” will feel much more at peace.

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1 Comment

  1. February 23, 2021 / 7:49 am

    I 100% feel you on your struggle with worrying that sending her is wrong and keeping her home is wrong. We haven’t sent Zoe back yet…but I just registered her for the new school year that starts in August. We have one more year before Kindergarten…and I am going to need her school to undo all the bad habits her and I have probably created together this last year we have been home while I am still working full time with her here. I struggle with where she is developmentally. I am not a teacher, I have no clue what I am doing. She has learned all her letters and most numbers here with me. I do some type of “lesson” or workbook pages with her…but it isn’t the same as the structure she was getting at school. I feel like since this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon, we are going to start getting our lives back a little bit more and venture out. Nothing crazy, but I think it is time.

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