With the end of a hopefully never-to-be-repeated year perhaps in sight, Sandhya Acharya wonders what she will miss and what she won’t.
In a few days, my kids will be going back to in-person school. It’s been a long year. A year of no field trips, no racing each other around the tracks, no monkey bar throw downs, no impromptu bey-blade battles and no lunch-time shenanigans. As the end gets nearer, they seem more restless. There are more tantrums, more arguments, more-meltdowns. “Is this really happening?” they seem to ask.
Even as I manage these flare-ups I find myself in similar disbelief. Can I really stop waking up at unearthly hours just to catch some quiet time? Can I really drop my kids off and spend the rest of the day uninterrupted by calls for lost objects, iPad chargers and snacks? Can I stop constantly thinking about what to make for that next meal? And then, as I slowly give myself permission to relax, breathe, smile in anticipation, I feel a tug.
You see, this past year, when the kids log-in, I have often listened in stealth. I have danced to joyful songs, seen cuddly kittens purr into the screen, learned stuffy names and waited eagerly for story time. I have gotten used to break-time hugs, art-hour, making sun-catchers, forming marshmallow constellations and snuggling into blanket forts.
I have also learned how the teachers manage interruptions, listen to suggestions from 6-year-olds and keep them engaged even as they are reduced to just a face on the screen. How they redirect frustrations, empower and encourage kids even in such unnerving times.