Our Executive Director tries to make sense of the new normal for her children.
Dear Sophia and Georgie,
At first, I was grateful that you are young — I thought you would be spared the stress and fear of what is going on in the world. Today, I am less sure. Your little lives have been turned upside down, and you don’t understand why. You don’t know words like “pandemic” or “coronavirus”. You are toddlers, your job is to play, explore, and learn. Your little wings have been clipped just as they were starting to grow, and you don’t understand why, and I am so sorry.
Each morning, when you wake up, you ask me, “Where are we going today?” And each morning my heart sinks a bit. “We get to stay home, sweetheart!” I reply with all the enthusiasm I can muster at 7 a.m. At first, you responded with the same excitement. You were happy to wear princess dresses and pajamas all day. But the novelty has worn off. I can see that you are frustrated, and the only words I can find are, “I’m sorry.”
We have talked about germs, practiced hand washing, and done lots of crafts and activities. We’ve had a lot of snuggle time. But, when you cried because you wanted to go to preschool, I wanted to cry with you.
You are being robbed of the brief time in life when school is mostly about play. And, again, the only words I can find are, “I’m sorry.”
When you asked to go to swimming lessons, and I replied we can’t go right now, you cried. “But Mama, I’m brave! I can swim all by myself.” Yes, sweetie, you are so brave and you can swim (with the help of your very patient swim teacher and bubble, of course). You have come so far. Three months ago, we had tears because you were afraid, and now, we have tears because you can’t go. Again, all I can say is “I’m sorry.”
When you wonder why you can’t see your friends, go to the playground, visit the library, or go shopping (this is how I know you are really desperate to get out), all I can say is “I’m sorry.”
Someday you will understand why Mama and Dada said we couldn’t go shopping, or to the park, or to see the fish at the aquarium. I remind myself that you will understand when you are older. But for right now, which is all that really matters, I am so sorry.