January 30, 2023

  • My youngest daughter received her second vaccination last week and was finally fully vaccinated.
  • I feel like I’ve waited for eternity for this moment, not knowing where to go from here.
  • I don’t know what our limits are now, but we are ready to do more.

Last week, my youngest daughter got her second Snapshot from our COVID-19 vaccine. We are now a fully pollinated family, a statement that feels surreal in words.

We’ve waited forever, but our chance to date came suddenly, and I didn’t hesitate. Unlike other chaotic moments during this pandemic, I wasn’t skeptical or confused. I didn’t have hard choices for her weight. There were no choices, only two and a half years of memories lead to one decision.

Covid has shaped her life

I remember the details – a lot of them. COVID has defined many moments from her young life: her last day of daycare, her all-important naps, her first steps—an ominous joy, her first time wearing a mask, her difficult transitions with new people. Always, the risk of disease has hung as low as a cloud — if not directly, then indirectly from its impact on how we’ve been raised through constant testing of our stability.

As a mom in this family, I find it hard to move on.

I am grateful that I had a combination of privilege and luck to protect my children, but I am deeply disturbed by the number of people who wouldn’t even try for us. Like we’re a buzzword, energy suckers, and more examples of millennials snowing their way through adulthood for every “once in a lifetime” challenge at a time.

We longed for a normal life, too. We wanted it to be over, too.

Parents of young children felt left behind

The epidemic is not over yet. Drawing this conclusion is an outcome-oriented engagement process of the kind that has made us parents of young children feel minimized over the past two and a half years.

I was dumbfounded last summer when the Biden administration declared victory over COVID, digital snippets flying through our phones as mask mandates were lifted across the country with little concrete information about when our children take their toll.

The story of “back to the office” — still without an option to vaccinate our children — arose from the same effort to prioritize economic incentives over the American family. Both would have been achieved if our schools had received the support they needed to operate safely and consistently, but this was not the case.

The truth is, I often felt like I was a burden to society, and like our children they were burdens. We felt tolerance rather than support from leaders, colleagues, and sometimes our loved ones. It’s hard to rebuild trust from there. Now that the whole family has been invited to the party, is there anything left to celebrate?

I don’t know what our limits are anymore

My whole family is now vaccinated. In the present, we have “before” and “after”, which are centered around this fact, this moment, and everything that happens next.

Our behavior changes: we leave. I’m not sure of our limits anymore, but I must give us every possible opportunity to expand it. If not, I will hold on to my fear and resentment forever, or worse, push more of it onto my children.

They lived under these limits and rules with only little understanding of why they existed for so long. My girls should see their insides at more stores, play at more friends’ houses, and take the train somewhere new. But the transformation is greater than what they can or cannot do. I’m trying to give them back something they might not realize they’ve lost, or in the case of the youngest, something she never had: her entire childhood.

Now that we’re here, I want them to wish, hope, and believe. Because maybe if they did, I would too.

Joel Bonbarth Lawyer and writer. her newsletter, Our little revolutions, celebrates women’s minute gains to help them achieve greater gains in their lives. follow her Twitter.

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