A Letter to Our Children:: Pandemic, One Year Later

To my babies,

My first inclination here is to say “I am so sorry.” And I am. However, sorry can indicate fault and really, this is not our fault. And it’s certainly not yours.

But what I really want to tell you, “I am so damn proud of you.”

You hopped in a car with us to go spend a week with family in Dallas; splashing in the pool, relaxing, eating way too many treats, and staying up way too late. It was a sweet time. Until we started hearing rumblings that things were getting kinda serious with this “Corona thing.” Indeed they were. Your mama had this super eerie feeling as we drove back to Houston that Saturday. Like the world had changed and we didn’t know HOW much it had changed yet. The roads were quiet. We were quiet. We had found out earlier that week that Daddy was not to go back to the office the following week, ya know, until this passed over. Then the Houston Rodeo canceled. Then came the call for school closings.

A Letter to Our Children:: Pandemic, One Year LaterYou never went back to school for the end of your 3rd grade year.

Even typing that brings me to tears. You just left for Spring Break, and NEVER WENT BACK.

It’s hard to even remember all the details after that. There was a pause, and then a flurry of virtual school… which bless it all, brought such immense challenges for us all. In the same breath of you transferring to online schools, we told you that you couldn’t play with your friends, you couldn’t freely roam in the neighborhood as you usually do, there would be no more church, no more family dinners at restaurants. And you’d have to wear a mask when we did leave.

For all the emotions that parents felt, I cannot even imagine what you felt. Please know that we did everything we could to make it seem less scary to you. Even when as parents, it was pretty dang scary for us. I hope you will remember family game nights, playing soccer on the lawn, throwing endless touchdowns on the trampoline, watching mommy and daddy do their workouts, and then wrapping up every evening with s’mores over the stove.

Because chocolate and marshmallow and graham crackers oozing and gooey should make all the things better.

There was no fanfare to indicate the end of 3rd grade, no end of year soccer parties… just nothing. And yet, your attitudes of JOY and PERSEVERANCE never wavered. The hits kept coming; and you kept getting up. Like “what’s next?”

A Letter to Our Children:: Pandemic, One Year LaterHey y’all? I need to tell you something. Your momma didn’t handle all of this so well. There were so many sleepless nights, so many days I just wanted to sleep away, visions of my business collapsing in front of my eyes, missing my people fiercely, and then just the constant of all the people around me all the time. And all the meals and constant requests.  I’m not sure I gave you my best then. And I AM sorry for that.

Summer at least brought a reprieve seemingly in the land o’ corona {we even celebrated your 10th birthday with a driveway sno cone party!}, but as we were promised, it certainly did come back with a vengeance. More online school to begin the 2020-21 school year. So, so many tears. Many of them mine as we navigated Zoom and a million different apps and logins and classes, or so it seemed. And as it turns out, one of the biggest blessings of daddy working from home is that he is pretty much the best tech support a family could ask for. Momma isn’t so equipped.

We asked you if you wanted to go back in person school when the opportunity presented itself. The resounding answer was “YES.” I mean, that was ours too, but we wanted you to have a choice during such crazy times. {I do realize that it’s a privilege that we had a choice to send you.} So in late August, we packed your bags full of sanitizer, wipes, more masks than a kid should need, then ya know, a few extra just in case.

You both came home that entire week with light back in your eyes. I know you missed school. But like most of us, what you missed was normalcy. School is your normal. Your safe place. And every day since then, you have marched in, heads held high, sanitizing your things, keeping your distance from peers as best as possible, paying attention to your lessons, and adjusting to different non-touch games at recess and not always having the “big playground.”

We’ve re-entered into safe play dates, some family dinners out, flag football, and gymnastics. A tad more normalcy with masks as the true accessory. But we are still home a lot. We are “only” a family of four, but our family of four apparently prefers to congregate in approximately 300 square feet. It’s a lot of “together.”

And yet our “together” isn’t always the same as we desperately miss Grandmas and aunts and uncles and cousins and so many other dear people who play an intrical part of our lives.

You hear a lot of scary words on the news. Words that I never thought I’d have to teach you… COVID-19, vaccines, quarantine, isolation. Then obviously the stories of death. It’s so, so very much for an adult to take in, never mind a child. I fear that we have prematurely aged you during this time; that you have learned far more than you should have at this age. I definitely spent my 4th grade year agonizing over the perfect placement of my ponytail, the red frames of my new glasses, snagging a perm, and scoring some goals. I certainly couldn’t have told you what a pandemic was or how it would affect people so significantly.

When I look back at history, there are have been other generations of children who have survived massive horrors:: Great Depression, World Wars, Vietnam War, Cold War, etc. And those generations rose to be GREAT. And I have to think it is going to be the same for you, my dear children. You will not be behind because of this pandemic. Push that nonsense aside. If anything, you will be light years ahead in maturity, emotional fortitude, life experience, and sanitization. Ha.

What I want you to know, a year since Pandemic started:: I know it hasn’t been easy. I know it hasn’t been sunshine and roses. And I know that there have been some days that you have felt very, very scared. I want you to know that Mommy and Daddy are doing everything possible to keep you safe while balancing YOU getting to live your life. Living is important too, y’all. I don’t know that we’ve gotten it perfect. No one does. But we sure have tried.

My heart swells with pride when I think of the character, class, kindness, and humor you have displayed over the past 12 months. And actually when I look back it, no matter the funny memes I may have shared, I feel incredibly privileged to see you grow up right before our eyes in such close proximity. I am not sure that I would have noticed all of the nuances had we not been together most of our waking hours. This event will change you, yes. But it will not define you, much like most things in our life. Go do big things, y’all. 2021 is waiting for you.



P.S. If you could chill on the snack eating, that’d be cool.

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Meagan Clanahan
Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!


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