“This is what I’m going to wear on the second day of school!” our eight-year-old daughter told me excitedly, spinning around in a pair of pink Old Navy acid-washed jeans and a pale blue top.
I asked her why that outfit was for the second day of school — not the first day — if she liked it so much. She replied “Well, I have to wear a dress on the first day, don’t I?”
Ever since her first day of preschool, at age three, our daughter has happily put on the handmade dresses and hair bows I’ve sewn for her. She’s enjoyed being a part of the process — choosing fabric, looking through new pattern options — and certainly reveled in the attention she gets from everyone who sees her in these custom outfits.
Her tastes changed as she got older, and I changed my patterns to accommodate that. Instead of cutesy cotton A-line dresses with sashes tied in big bows, she steered me towards longer, twirlier dresses made from stretch fabrics. I went along with it, just to keep sewing for her …
If I could write this face-down, it would be symbolic. That’s because I am so far beyond cutesy stories about ways to have a magical summer and plan special activities for your kids.
That’s not what this column is – this is me, digging down deep, throwing you a couple of random life preservers in the hopes that we’ll all get through the next four-ish weeks.
I am exhausted. Truly. We are in parental damage control mode, where it’s all about just surviving the next month and getting to the finish line that is Sept. 8 – the first day of school.
It’s been almost five months straight of temporary layoffs and then getting rehired (both me and my husband rode that super fun roller coaster, luckily not at the same time), struggling to work from home full-time without any childcare, financial worries, bored and depressed children, agoraphobia, oh, and crippling anxiety about the virus that’s killing hundreds of thousands of people.
Forgive me if I’m not in the mood to invent a five-minute craft or round up my top 10 places to go for family fun. But I do have some ideas for you, I swear – a few suggestions for getting through these last long, nervous weeks until school starts.
I ate my anxiety nachos and sighed with relief as Nova Scotia’s Department of Education announced the plan for schools reopening in September.
One of the first things we heard from Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill was, blessedly, that “the best place for children is in the classroom”, and the plan is to return them there full-time, at least to start.
According to the province’s new back-to-school page, the plan for September includes in-class instruction, enhanced cleaning measures, greater emphasis on handwashing/sanitizing and physical distancing.
In some situations, mask use will be required for some grade levels and staff. School bus riders and drivers will be required to wear masks. School meals will be delivered to classrooms to prevent a crowd from gathering in the cafeteria, and no one will be using lockers.
Everything sounded perfectly reasonable to me. You want my eight-year-old to wear a mask on the bus? Sure! What kind? Should I send extras? Do you want me to sew a class set?
Sure, my 10-year-old son will be disappointed he won’t get to decorate a locker for the very first time, but he’ll deal with it.
Charge me triple for school supply fees. Ask me to buy hazmat suits for the class. Enlist me to be a volunteer bus monitor to make sure kids keep their masks on. Anything. Seriously, I will accommodate literally any request, as long as my kids can return to school and have a mostly normal life again.