My youngest daughter received her second vaccine last week and is finally fully vaccinated.
I feel like I waited an eternity for this moment, and I don't know where to go from here.
I don't know what our limits are now, but we are ready to do more.
We waited for an eternity, but our chance to make her appointment came abruptly, and I didn't hesitate. Unlike the other chaotic moments during this pandemic, I wasn't skeptical or confused. I had no difficult options to weigh. There were no options, only 2-and-½ years of memories leading to one decision.
COVID has framed her life
I remember the details — too many of them. COVID has framed too many moments from her little life: the last day of daycare, her oh-so-important naps, her first steps — an ominous delight, her first time in a mask, her difficult transitions with new people. Always, the threat of disease hung low like a cloud — if not directly, then indirectly from its impact on how we parented through constant tests of our fortitude.
As the mom in this family, I'm finding it hard to move on.
I am grateful I've had the combination of privilege and luck to protect my children, but I'm deeply disturbed by how many people wouldn't even try for us. As if we were buzzkills, energy-suckers, more examples of millennials snowflaking their way through adulthood each "once-in-a-lifetime" challenge at a time.
We longed for normalcy, too. We wanted it to be over, too.
Parents of little children felt left behind
The pandemic isn't over. To draw that conclusion is a results-oriented cop-out of the kind that has made us, the parents of small children, feel minimized for the past 2-and-½ years.
I was flabbergasted last summer when the Biden administration declared victory over COVID, digital confetti flying across our phones as mask mandates lifted across the country with little concrete information on when our children would receive their jabs.
The "return-to-office" narrative — still with no option to vaccinate our kids — sprung from the same effort to prioritize economic incentives over the American family. Both could've been accomplished if our schools received the support they needed to operate safely and continuously, but that wasn't the case.
The truth is, I often felt like a burden to society, and like our children were burdens. We felt tolerated instead of supported by leaders, colleagues, and at times, even our loved ones. It's hard to rebuild trust from there. So now that the whole family is invited to the party, is there anything even left to celebrate?
I don't know what our limits are anymore
My whole family is vaccinated now. At present, we have a "before" and an "after," which centers around this fact, this moment, and everything that happens next.
Our behavior is changing: We are letting go. I am not sure what our limits are anymore, but I have to give us every chance I can to expand them. If not, I will hold on to my fear and resentment forever, or even worse, push more of it onto my kids.
They've lived under these boundaries and rules with only a scant understanding of why we had them for a long time. My girls should see the insides of more stores, play at more friends' houses, and ride the train somewhere new. But the shift is bigger than what they can or can't do. I am trying to give them something back they may not even realize they've lost, or in my youngest's case, something she never had: her full childhood.
Now that we are here, I want them to wish, and hope, and believe. Because maybe if they do, I will again, too.
Read the original article on Insider