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back to school

(Photos by Jasmin Thankachen)

Perspective | A parent’s first week of school: A silent house … and anxiety

Sending kids under 12 back now brings joy tinged with fear.

We’ve started our first full week of school this week.

My under-12 kids get dropped off at school, hand sanitizer strapped to their backpacks, masks plastered to their faces, and a friendly reminder to wash hands often, all while trying their best to stay 3 feet away from others.

Ever since the first day, we parents have come back home to an eerily quiet house and it’s been beyond strange. No feet pattering down the hallway. No video game music and no squabbles. No clanking of dishes or the ding of the toaster for browned bread or warm waffles. No rush to the kitchen table for second or third breakfast.

My husband and I don’t feel that certain elation of a normal school year. A well-deserved sendoff for the kids, after having a jam-packed summer with vacations and downtime. No pat on the back for ourselves either, for being AWESOME parents — getting the kids to school on time with lunches packed and forms filled out.

Truthfully, this is hard.

back to school

Sending children who can’t be vaccinated yet back to school in the midst of a pandemic is full of uncertainty. I’m sure, much of this year will be filled with moments of fear and anxiety that start in the pit of your belly, bubbling up to the surface. We’re forced to rationalize every decision we make, backing it up with as much data as we can wrap our heads around.

Relying on what our doctor friends are doing and following the example of policymakers, pediatricians, psychologists and researchers: Are they sending their kids to school? Then it must be OK …

Did we do the right thing? Maybe.

I’m a little more optimistic when we see the joy on our children’s faces after school — every day. They spent the day learning from amazing teachers and are able to see friends and all the wonderful staff and volunteers. Maybe this is exactly right, exactly what they needed.

Tomorrow we will do it again. Maybe we’ll enjoy our quiet day a tiny bit, and maybe we’ll do it all with a little less hesitancy … maybe.

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About the Author

Jasmin Thankachen

Jasmin is an Eastside mom of two boys and enjoys parenting with lots of love and laughter. Co-Founder of PopUp StoryWalk, she also loves children's picture books, essay writing, and community stories.