It has been a long time since I wrote to you. Always with the hope you will some day soon begin to read them and read them again as you grow into the young lady I’m excited for you to become. I hope we can talk about them and you find my efforts worthwhile. I felt compelled to write after a five year hiatus because of the strange times we are in. I hope those days are far behind us and we can recall in bemusement of what was.
The year is 2021 and I’m sad to say there are words that will forever be etched into your generation’s culture. Phrases like “fake news”, “COVID19”, “Antimaskers”, “QAnon”, “ANTIFA”, “Social Distancing”, “Quarantine”. When I was little and imagined what today would look like I imagined technology leading the way, finding cures to cancers, AIDs, Alzheimer’s Disease, or domestic poverty disproportions. I genuinely could not imagine a world where we’re teaching people to wash their hands, that gloves are not effective for multiuse, and wearing a mask (above your nose) protects those around you in case you are sick.
I certainly could not imagine the isolation you would feel. The loneliness of someone much older, who has made it a choice to be done with people. My performer has slowly turned into a child easily frightened by loud noises, overwhelmed by anything more than two people at a time, dependent on her mother’s presence. Your preschool teacher has concerns that you have ADHD. I set up the referral with a state behavioral specialist, I spoke to your pediatrician. When that counsel left me more unsure not less, I turned to prayer. I am not against science and behavioral issues. Even autism is not foreign to my family. If my little ducky needs closer attention in her education then I will help her but not yet. Not yet Ducky.
First she must rediscover what is a Post Pandemic social norm. Children as young as 5 years of age are having to do remote learning. Children 2 and above are learning mask hygiene and discouraged from touching one another or really playing with each other at all for fear of the virus spreading. It is different from when I was growing up and your grandmother encouraged us to “hurry up” and get the Chicken Pox from the neighbor kid to get it over with. Mommy made mud pies and swam in ball bins at Showbiz pizza. My only consequence was the immune system of a God. Your consequences are so much more serious, as a silent spreader to family or either increased risk for a Covid induced disease spreading among minority children. I feel guilty for sending you to Preschool but I have to provide for us and you desperately need any and all the socialization it provides.
There is hope though, we have become an unstoppable team you and I, adapting to our new routine. On Wednesday I had the pleasure of watching our first female vice president, our first Asian and our first Black vice president sworn in. In the wake of a bully culture where reality was a subjective thing batted about in the court of public opinion we finally have restoration of some semblance of sanity. Maybe a cracker jack will rise up out of the Republican party by 2024 or an independent that continues to diversify our democracy. And one day, now that the path has been laid, there may even be room for President Carbonell.
Whatever your dream I will cheer you, I will facilitate you. I will demand you take this torch and run. Run past people storming our Capitol on the cries of a falsehood, past a celebration of bigots and racists inciting unfocused hate on the masses, past this loneliness where we interact with electronic screens more than we do each other, and past willful ignorance as each day more and more die from a yet unfolding viral plague. You will take this torch and light a brighter path from these dark days to be a beacon to future generations on how you not only survived but became stronger and more resolved than any of us who came before. We got this. You got this!
Mommy (LaTisha Carbonell to everyone else)
COVID-19: the intersection of education and Health