Back to school and back to normal?

By Emily Evert, NDFB Assistant Corporate Secretary

My second and third grader are off and running to another school year. Per usual it came out of nowhere and the back-to-school activities had us running every night leading up to the first day.

This school year will be the first time our second grader, Parker, is having a normal school year. No masks, no social distancing, no shortened school day, no Covid testing or having to quarantine. This will sound weird to most of us, but she doesn’t know what a normal school day or year is. How sad is that?

Our oldest, Payton, didn’t skip a beat adjusting to the “new normal” (I really thought I would never have to say that again) but Parker, at just five years old and entering her first year of school faced it head on with grit and resilience.

When Parker started kindergarten, she walked in alone on her first day of school as no parents were allowed into the building. Everyone surrounding her was new and wearing masks – but she faced it head on and entered school as if she owned the place. Mind you, her mask never seemed to make it into the school and when she got to the entrance, if a teacher asked her about it she said she just put her hand over her mouth and walked to her locker. She’s my Alpha female child.

Masks were mandatory that first year and the school day ended at 1:45pm, rather than 3:05pm. There were no field trips, class parties, Christmas programs, none of the things that make-up a classic kindergarten year. Her first-grade year, there were no masks but if you coughed you were quarantined and asked to wear a mask until a parent was contacted to confirm there was no sickness at home – and both our girls inherited my seasonal allergies, so this did not go over well.

Because each school year has had restrictions thus far, Parker has not formed close relationship with many of her classmates. She has missed out on things like playdates, birthday parties, and outside school activities because of Covid. We are trying to make-up for lost time and were able to have several class playdates over the summer, but it is still a work in progress.

While it tugs on my mom heart that Parker missed out on those special school years, I am learning her resilience and grit comes from having to do things differently. I think one thing she really took from those first two non-traditional years of school is that it is okay to learn the way while on the way.

Parker and the giant Eeyore.

So far, her second-grade year has been a great experience and she is loving her teacher and classmates. Today is her first show and tell and she has been talking about it all week. When she came home and first told us about it, we were informed she asked her teacher if she could bring Scout, our Saint Bernard puppy – BIG puppy, and her teacher was going to check with the principal. Bless his heart for entertaining her proposition but we settled on Eeyore that she brought back from Disney World.  

Scout, Parker and Payton

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