We knew. Even in those darkest days sheltering at home, we knew that we’d get to the other side of this dreadful pandemic and that each tomorrow would be better than today. What we didn’t realize at the time (at least I didn’t realize) was that it wouldn’t be just one big mountain to climb but an impossibly long, winding road virtually made of mountains—and valleys and sinkholes and some scattered landmines and giant cement walls. And that everyone would have to blaze their own path. We’d all have our tomorrows, but we'd have them again and again, and no two would feel exactly the same.
My family’s first "tomorrow" came when my older son’s school partially reopened. Then my younger son’s school. One by one since lockdown: Real-life conversations. Shared meals. Family holidays. HUGS. KISSES! Each one felt like getting to other side of something—one small mountain, one small tomorrow at a time.
This week, New York State lifted its mask mandate in schools. Kids and teachers and friends are seeing each other’s whole face smile. Or laugh. Or cry. Or all three. It's A LOT to feel, especially for some of these little ones who have lived most of their lives under the cloud of Covid-19.
My older child is immunocompromised, so we may be wearing the masks a while. I don’t know yet if my family will ever live completely worry-free on the other side of this thing. But I do know this: it is a JOY to see your smiles. And I’m so grateful to everyone in our circle looking past the masks into my children’s eyes to see that they are smiling, too.
[Art © Grant Snider]