I just dropped the boy off for his first day of “school.” Though he will only be gone three days out of the week, it still marks the beginning of the end of his time at home all day with me and I don’t like it much.

This would have been a very hard milestone for me no matter what but throw in a pandemic and wow. My nerves have been shot. I’ve had sleepless nights. I’ve had chest pains and stomach aches. I miss my kid.

It was down to the wire making the decision about whether I’d actually send him or not. It’s likely that he has already had COVID and was fine. But this virus seems to have all kinds secret moves. It hits us with one thing and then the next. Maybe he could not be fine if he catches it again. I can’t help but have all the “what ifs” running through my mind all the time.

When the time was up on making a decision whether to send him or not I decided to. He is five and has never been around kids very much but loves their company. It didn’t seem fair to keep him away, even though my fears and concerns were legitimate. I do not know if I made the right decision. All I could really figure is that either decision was right, and either was wrong.

Over the past few weeks I’ve come to understand things less than I ever thought I could. At the meeting about the boy’s school it was mentioned that perhaps masks would be required in the future. That was the first bout of hope I’d had in a long time. While some other parents out there in the world are protesting because they don’t want their kids to be forced to wear a mask, I’m praying that mine soon will.

Meanwhile, Rep. Andrew Sorrell, from Muscle Shoals, says he wants to prohibit school systems from mandating that students in K-12 schools wear masks.

I can’t wrap my mind around that.

I can’t wrap my mind around any of this.

I have a new favorite meme from the comment sections of news stories posted on Facebook: “Man, all these doctors and nurses and microbiologists and epidemiologists and researchers keep saying COVID is dangerous, but all these dudes I went to high school with who barely passed science say it’s not dangerous. It’s hard to know who to believe anymore.”

I think that school board members Patricia Stewart and Patrick Woosley deserve much recognition for voting to mandate masks in Scottsboro schools. I have been moved to tears just thinking about their ability to step outside what seems to be the norm in regard to leadership in the south. In a time when I just don’t understand what people in charge are thinking, here these two people are doing something that makes sense to me — which is trying to take all precautions to keep students safe.

Meanwhile, I’ve sent my own kid out into the world with a mask tucked away in his little lunchbox, just in case. I don’t think I could feel more guilty or scared if I tried.

I guess there is comfort in the fact that he walked in tall and proud, and told his teacher what he brought for lunch. I don’t even think he told me goodbye. Maybe he won’t be like his old mom was at that age. I don’t mind admitting that I faked sick a day or two trying to get back home with Mama. He will be fine.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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