Erin Lunde

Stories About Telling Stories

The Novelty Has Worn

Last year at this time I had our whole summer planned and on the various Google calendars. Last year at this time the novelty of a pandemic summer was a curiosity and an adventure, a challenge of creativity. Last year at this time I was sick of being inside, but I wasn’t burnt by it all quite yet.

Today, I have a two-year-old, unvaccinated and climbing the literal walls of this house. Today, we’ve endured an entire new year of school, of quarantining from school, and from distance learning while in quarantine and a hybrid of all of the above. Today, we are operating under the assumption that maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a chance to have the toddler vaccinated some time in April.

Mask mandates are being lifted and the reporters don’t even mention the fact that there are kids out there who remain vulnerable and innocent. This pandemic is a different animal for those of us with little kids.

Last year at this time I was excited about the idea that life might change. Today, I can’t bring myself to register the kids for any summer classes or camps without the explicit instruction from their friends’ parents (hey, did Sam sign up for this yet?). I just can’t see that far. I return to the tornado that hit my parents’ home in the middle of Iowa in the middle of December. What else could happen?

And yet. We shuffle onward. We go to school and we come home. We wear our masks. We emerge when the temperature is above 10. We learn to read. We learn to practice new instruments. We try harder on our handwriting when there is a threat of extra handwriting practice at home. We chase each other around the house. We sleep and wake and do it again.

It’s fine, really. We’ve adjusted so hard that I don’t know that they’ll ever go indoors without a mask, and I don’t think they mind. It’s just fascinating to me how little interest I have in planning very far in advance. The calendar of our whole life will flip once the baby can get a shot. That’s when the new year begins.

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