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Editor's Note: Reflecting on a Year of Adaptations


Published April 6, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated April 6, 2022 at 9:24 a.m.

A collaborative art display at Lyman C. Hunt Middle School - COURTESY OF SANDY HAWKES
  • Courtesy of Sandy Hawkes
  • A collaborative art display at Lyman C. Hunt Middle School

Recently, I was thinking about my kids' first day of school in September. Like in previous years, I felt a nervous flutter in my stomach as I watched my son and daughter enter their school buildings, weighed down by backpacks and lunch bags.

But this year, the nervousness was compounded with fear and a little sadness as I said goodbye to my kids, freshly washed masks obscuring their nervous smiles. They joined the line of other masked students, waiting their turn for a temperature check.

Customary worries like Will they have a good day? were accompanied by much more complicated questions: Will they be emotionally scarred from having to socially distance from friends and teachers all day? Will they experience mask fatigue? Will they bring COVID-19 home?

Seven months later — summer break almost in sight — I'm struck by the resilience, not just of my own kids, but of all the students, teachers, school staff and parents this school year. Seeing my kids donning their masks along with their backpacks no longer makes me feel sad; it's just what we do now. We've adapted.

In "The Rite Stuff,"we look at how families have experienced different rites of passage during the past year — from celebrating first birthdays to getting a driver's license. Kids and parents experienced these milestones differently than they would have in a normal year. But despite the pandemic's huge presence in our lives, it didn't stop families from celebrating the things that matter to them. We've all adapted.

In this issue, you'll also find ways to celebrate Earth Day every day, a profile of a South Burlington school nurse and an essay about a (very busy) day in the life of a childcare provider. We've also compiled some of the best submissions to our recently concluded Good Citizen At-Home Challenge; find that cheerful collection of photos and anecdotes here. I'm also happy to introduce our newest contributor, Maria Munroe — who recently moved to Vermont from Hawaii with her husband and baby daughter. She'll be writing a regular column about thrifting, fashion and décor called "Secondhand Style." 

In late March, Burlington art teacher Sandy Hawkes emailed me photos of a collaborative art project made by her students at Lyman C. Hunt Middle School. Guided by the theme "We are all resilient," each student created a personalized leaf; combined, they form a lobby display of brightly colored succulent plants (pictured above).

Spring is just about here. The snow is melting. Flowers are coming up. Vaccines are here. I'm hopeful that the resilience we've learned this year will get us through this hopefully final stretch of the pandemic.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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