Covid-19 robbed me of the chance to make first day of school memories with my child
THE house is silent. If I stop typing for a second, I can hear the cars on the highway.
It’s a very unusual situation, one I thought I’d welcome but I find myself wandering around the house from room to room, looking at the clock as time deceptively ticks by.
By now the kids would have been awake, shouting for breakfast and fighting over who gets to watch what on the TV while I shout from my room for them to calm down, regurgitating a two-minute lecture on them being kind to each other.
But this morning there’s nothing, just an eerie silence that threatens to engulf my thoughts and consume my need for the noise to become another resident that takes up space in our home.
Nobody warns us about that – the silence. Or the fact that we as parents would be suffering from separation anxiety as we march our children off to the first day of school.
You know what else nobody warned us about? How we’d have to give off our little ones to new teachers and a new environment without stepping a foot in the building.
Covid-19 has robbed us of a life that we’ve so often taken for granted, a life that we now have to make accommodations for.
Every year like clockwork, I’d hold my children’s hands, walk them to their new classroom and introduce them to their new teacher.
Today it was nothing like that. My youngest started grade R. We were told weeks before that under no circumstances are parents allowed to accompany their children into the classroom due to Covid-19 precautions – no exceptions would be made.
I mentally prepared my daughter and explained to her I would not be walking into her new school and class with her.
I made one big mistake. Oh boy, I was never prepared.
I was only allowed with her to a certain point and gave her a firm tug of the hand as she walked towards a new journey and away from me.
But as soon as I turned away, the tears started. Sitting in the car, I let them fall freely – heaving with big gulps. I was sad, but I was also angry. It’s an emotion I’ve become well connected with since lockdown.
The new normal has become an unwelcome house guest that refuses to leave and watches from the sidelines without saying a word, but gives you that “you’re not allowed to do that” look once you step out of line.
Today, I was robbed of a potential memory and for every parent there’s nothing worse than watching your child embarking on a new phase of their life you could not play a part in.
That thought sits heavy on my heart and something most parents can relate to. It’s our shared trauma that will just become another thing.
Sure, your kid will forget the memory and it will fade. But you’ll remember. You’ll always remember.