Tonight I’m going out for dinner with a friend. This hardly seems worthy of a blog post, but for me right now, this is a big thing. Since the surge of the Omicron variant, I have not eaten in a restaurant. I’ve done some takeout, but that’s it. The thought of sitting across from someone not in my family, removing masks, and eating together is kind of scary — or at least I framed it this way until I engaged in some discussion with Lisa Cranston about her recent vlog.
While Lisa’s post is about her birthday, some of the discussion in it made me realize that her thinking about co-regulation could apply to many other situations. Lisa responded to my initial reply with a story about the first time that she ate out in a restaurant once the restrictions were lifted. I could relate to so many of her feelings.
At first, when my friend texted me about meeting for dinner and if it was safe to do so, I said that I wasn’t sure. She then mentioned …
- That COVID is here to stay,
- That we are both vaccinated and boosted,
- That we’re consistent with wearing our masks (and wearing them properly),
- That we wash our hands regularly,
- And that we could choose a restaurant with booths, spaces between tables, and staff that we know consistently follow the COVID protocols.
Hearing her lay out her thinking in this way helped reduce a lot of my stress. We also picked an off-time to hopefully decrease the number of people at the restaurant at the same time.
I share this story here because yesterday, I started my day as I always do by reading Doug Peterson’s blog post. One post that he highlighted in here was a recent one by Matthew Morris about having COVID. This post really resonated with me as I’ve overheard similar conversations over the last month or so between kindergarten students that seemed to normalize COVID. It’s not that the symptoms were overlooked or the seriousness was forgotten, but more kids have started to talk about COVID as they would talk about getting a cold or the flu. Even the rapid tests are spoken about in similar vein to getting a shot at the doctor’s office.
Looking at how our classroom is set-up this year along with all of the students and adults in masks, tell me that we’re not over COVID yet — nor do I think that we should ignore its severity — but somehow there seems to be a bit less anxiety around the protocols as there were before.
Maybe we are all just accustomed to how things are. More and more people also know others that have had COVID — and more kids and adults seem to have had it themselves — which possibly reduces some of the fear. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, but I also wonder how long one can continue not going anywhere or seeing anyone.
Yes, I still choose to eat my lunch alone at school. Even when I take sips of water, I try to do so over by the classroom door away from kids and other adults. Maybe this is my own way of playing it safe. All of this being said, on March 4th we have a PA Day, and for the first time in almost two years, this meeting is going to be in-person. What exactly this looks like, we don’t know yet, but it will include closer connections with other adults in the building than I have had in a long time. Is this a sign that the world is slowly moving on? Hopefully tonight’s restaurant experience will make me feel even more comfortable with this meeting time on Friday. If not, will having my teaching partner, Paula, there help reduce any stress that I might feel with this new experience? As I was reminded on Thursday, people are highly connected to how we feel, and as we all continue to adjust to shifting protocols and experiences, I wonder if we will look for our people even more.