- Courtesy of Alison Novak
- Homemade stew and bread from Backdoor Bread in Charlotte provide nourishment at the end of another housebound day
As parents, we're accustomed to celebrating our kids' firsts — first laugh, first step, first day of school, first lost tooth. But it's rare, as adults, to experience our own "firsts."
In the past few weeks, though, my life has been filled with firsts. I'm sure yours has, too. A few of them:
- First time I felt worried going to the grocery store
- First time I heard a sweet chorus of 20 fourth graders echo through my living room, as my son takes part in a virtual morning meeting
- First time I felt my heart go pitter-patter at the sight of hand sanitizer, in the form of four small bottles delivered to our mailbox by a neighbor who works for a company that produces it
- First time I awkwardly and skittishly moved away when I saw a friendly face walking toward me
- First time I used Zoom — to do many things, from meeting with my book club to taking a yoga class
- First time I've felt a deep sense of uncertainty about when I will see my loved ones again.
And, of course, like many families, mine is experiencing for the first time what it's like to be cooped up, working and eating and breathing together, pretty much 24-7. My kids are suddenly each other's one-and-only playmates. I can't help but think that these days of being forced to discover how to get along will shape and strengthen their relationship for years to come.
Another first: We had to completely revise our plans for this issue of Kids VT. When we assigned stories in early March, we couldn't have imagined that a global pandemic would disrupt our lives so thoroughly. It also upended our circulation strategy. With schools, childcare providers and attractions closed, we decided to distribute this issue inside our sister publication, Seven Days.
Over the past two weeks, we also asked contributors to rewrite articles and brainstormed new topics to cover to reflect our current reality. In this issue, you'll find advice from homeschooling parents on navigating the months ahead. For more on the topic of education, read Kathleen Kesson's essay about the lessons she learned from "unschooling" her four children years ago. Some of Kesson's gems: Boredom is productive. Take things apart. Get outside. And deep breaths — lots of them.
Meredith Bay-Tyack's "Growing Up Green" column focuses on low-waste craft projects, like inventing your own games and building small cities, that will keep your little ones occupied — at least for a bit. And in "Pop Culture," Keegan Albaugh writes about the community connections that are bolstering him during this time.
I've been buoyed by the beautiful kid-made artwork and adorable photos of children and pets that readers have sent to us via Facebook. You'll find as many of them as we could in the print issue on pages 9 and 37. It's comforting to think about families all over Vermont — putting crayons to paper, snuggling with their dogs and cats, cooking and baking up a storm, and supporting each other in ways big and small. We may be apart right now, but we'll get through this together.