Log in Subscribe

The gift of time

Jeanne Sager - Columnist
Posted 8/17/20

For many parents, choosing whether to keep their kids home or send them to school is not really a choice at all.

They're doing just what it is they have to do.

Some work full-time and have no …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

The gift of time

Posted

For many parents, choosing whether to keep their kids home or send them to school is not really a choice at all.

They're doing just what it is they have to do.

Some work full-time and have no childcare options. It's school or nothing.

Some have kids with educational needs that can only be met in a school setting or have technology issues that hamper their ability to fully meet their kids' needs at home.

There's a privilege that comes with being able to keep my child home this year.

I'm lucky to work from home, lucky to have strong Internet signal, lucky to have a teenager who is on top of their schoolwork.

But the luckiest bit of all might just be that I'm genuinely happy to have my child home this school year. With just three years left before they depart our home for college and their dreams of the real world, we've been given the unforeseen gift of time.

In the midst of a pandemic that's claimed more than 160,000 American lives and sickened millions more, in the midst of an economic downturn that's cost millions their jobs, there's a certain amount of guilt that comes with celebrating anything, even the small things. How dare we?

And yet if this topsy-turvy, upside down year has taught us anything, it may be that we need to make the most out of the bits of good news we can surface.

I'm clinging to this golden nugget coming right about that time of year when a case of the sads generally settles into my bones.

When I wake to chilly air blowing through the windows left open the night before, a night that moved in earlier than the one before and the one before that, I tend to know what's coming next.

Back-to-school planning, followed by back-to-school shopping, followed by back-to-school sleep recalibrating, followed by last of summer fun to be had before the inevitable day when the alarm goes off in the wee hours, the camera is pulled out for an embarrassing first day of school photo, and then the kid is off for yet another year of math, science, reading, writing, and learning to be smarter than one's parents.

I've been through 10 years of this now. I have my first day routine down pat. I head back inside and stow the camera away. I turn on my computer to work and to try to distract myself from what's come to feel like the saddest day of the year.

I support public education and everything that it does to help our kids grow into capable, productive members of society. I'm relieved that our school district will continue to provide services to kids at home this year because that is their area of expertise, and I am incredibly grateful that these experts exist to help us parents shape our kids into the future of our society.

But every day our kids mark in school is another day we mark off in their march toward the great, wild world out there.

I'm lucky to have been able to make the choice to keep my child home this year and luckier still that I get to take back 180 days that I would otherwise have lost.

It's not everything, but it's the thing I have. And you better believe I'm going to cherish it.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here