Friday, May 21, 2021

Imagine


Imagine for a minute, you’re six years old. And after months of uncertainty, you’re happy to be back at the only school you’ve ever known with your best friends. And, without warning, an unimaginable storm comes tearing through your town. Imagine, at six years old, holding your best friend’s hand for the duration of the storm and singing to the babies around you in the hallway where you’re hiding.

Imagine that was the last day you’d ever attend that school.

Imagine being excited to start at a new school and being delayed for three weeks. Imagine during those three weeks, you must stay home with your dad who shoos you away consistently so he can do his job.

Imagine when you’re finally able to go to your new school, you have to enter alone. You enter a place you’ve never been with people you’ve never met. Imagine finding your way to your new classroom with a brand-new teacher-friend who you found on your own to help you.

Imagine only meeting half your class for weeks and only going to school every other day.

Imagine enjoying a somewhat normal holiday – dressing up with friends and grabbing candy from tables set up on a driveway. Imagine that because of that decision – to have some semblance of a normal childhood activity – you now have to stay home and learn from a screen.

Imagine then learning that your quarantine is extended and now includes over half your class. Imagine how exhausted your teacher must be. Planning multiple lesson plans each night.

Imagine celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with just your family to stay safe - from a virus and future quarantines. Imagine going back to school - but only every other day again. And on the off days, you’re once again shooed away from your dad’s calls - from his job that helps to keep the roof over your head.

Imagine finally getting to go back to school every day. But not understanding why you’re scratching your skin more. Why when plans are changed in a routine way, you melt into tears. You fume with anger.

Imagine, seeing people outside your school with signs. The signs say you shouldn’t wear a mask to your school. That maybe you – a now seven-year-old – should make that decision.

Now, imagine having to make that choice together with your family. With no warning. Early one morning. Another change you weren’t prepared for. Imagine, visually being able to see which family has made which choice. Imagine wanting to stay healthy. To not be quarantined again. Imagine not understanding any of it completely.

Can you even imagine, Iowa?

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