Today my son is going to a part-time preschool for the first time since the pandemic started. I thought I would feel relief, a break from parenting while working but I don’t. I won’t relax until he is vaccinated, or really until all our friends’ and families’ children can be vaccinated as well. Life cannot begin to resemble normalacy, until there are vaccines available for all ages. The rates of hospitalization and death in children are low, and the long-term health effects of COVID-19 are unknown, though information on lower lung function and increased risk for diabetes has already been documented, not to mention the issues connected to “Long COVID”.
Bulent went back to in-person classes in September, and I have been home while I work on my own with Kayra three days a week. Before, we had traded hours, so had separate work and parenting time, but no more, or at least not on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday. However, I left my previous role in October and I started an incredible new job in November (more will be revealed) and so thought I would be able to do it for a short period of time. But that short period of time has stretched on, plans changed, the start of our daycare was delayed, and delayed and delayed again, now until fall.
We made it work, Kayra and I, for months. But now it is no longer working for Kayra, so things need to change. We have spent an incredible amount of time and effort over the last two years to provide him the activity and stimulation he needed, to safeguard his mental health without preschool and “regular” playdates, but he needs more than we can provide at this point, which means our decision was made for us.
We have kept our social circle small and have masked in any larger events, including any outings to parks or playdates. We still only participate in outdoor activities. Kayra will be vaccinated soon or later, and at that point, we will re-evaluate. But until then he will continue to mask in any setting where there is the inability to social distance, which basically means with other kids.
The preschool is mostly outdoor, but had never been on our radar because it is only part-time and far from our home. Also, we were not comfortable with the exposure risk when Austin was at a high rate of community spread. However, local numbers are lower now, and through the hour round trip will cut into my work day, I am thrilled for Kayra. He is incredibly social, loves making new friends, and this will be exactly the fun and engagement he wants and needs.
Our two-year quarentine has been difficult, but has only been possible because we were gifted with one of the kindest, most positive, bravest, and thoughtful children that has ever existed. We are so lucky. So many have have lost so much, their liveliehoods, their health-mental and physical, their lives. We made sarifices, to protect our child, and protect others. Today we are seeing the other side of the storm, if cautiously.