Here in Ontario, it has just been announced that students will return to school full-time, this fall.
I work in education, and will also be returning to school, full-time.
I am now contemplating how our early-start mornings might look, in a few short weeks. Mostly me, hollering:
Do you have your mask?
Where's your hand sanitizer?
Is it in your pants pocket?
Did you sanitize your phone?
Has anyone seen my face shield? The one I used yesterday broke...
Let me check your forehead.
Keep your hands to yourself, ok?
Are you really feeling crummy, or are you just tired?
I don't know...maybe you're getting a cold?
Whose mask is this one?
Has Jake/Ethan/Emily come back to school, yet?
Have they said whether it's COVID?
Is that your hat? I don't recognize it.
Don't trade hats, dude. Remember lice?
Wear your mask, please.
Just eat what you pack, ok?
I love you.
I love you.
In the meantime, my thoughts are on my oldest son, as he makes his way to a beach, with friends. These are the things I want to holler at them all:
Don't forget your masks.
Don't forget sunscreen.
Don't forget to drink water.
Watch the waves, but like...apart.
Watch out for each other....but, like, apart.
Remember who you are.
Remember whose you are.
Make good choices.
Don't do dumb shit.
The freedom he craves, and the freedom I want for him, knew myself at his age, is not something I can give him, these days. Striking a balance between physical safety and good mental health is hard. So, a beach day with a chosen cohort, and masks and dire warnings will have to do. Instead, I will pack him a lunch, throw him a bottle of hand sanitizer and sign "I love you" because the words get stuck in my throat. It is both too much, and not enough, in the same breath.