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Dear Reader: Happy Back to School!

by Vaun Thygerson
Contributing writer and mother of three

My niece sent me a meme the other day with Bill Murray’s character from Groundhog Day with the words in white font, “Here we are on day 137 of our two-week quarantine to “’flatten the curve’.” I laughed one of those laughs that if you thought about it too long would make you really want to cry, but I chose to laugh. Since March, some of life’s missed milestones, parties, and events have been a harder proverbial pill to swallow than others. But, this back-to-school, or should I say back-to-virtual-school, one has been a little harder for me. I just love everything about back-to-school traditions: the new clothes, the haircuts, the brand-new pencils and paper, and especially that first-day-of-school photo on the front porch. 

This year was one I had especially been waiting for because my two boys will be at Liberty High School together: a freshman and a junior. From the time my youngest son was born, I imagined how fun it was going to be with them both at high school for two years. And, they are the best of friends, so I imagined them riding to school together, meeting up for lunch, and making so many fun memories. So, now what?

I’ve decided to try and make it as normal as possible. I’m still going to buy them new clothes and take that front-porch picture, even if we just turn right around and head back into the house. I don’t want to miss these milestones, even if they aren’t exactly how I planned them. One thing is for certain – they will be learning together – all day, every day! And even though they aren’t your typical high school memories, I’m sure they will remember this time in their life always.

One person who really knows how to make the best of quarantine is seven-year-old Isabella Brennan. In the article, “When Life Give You Lemons: Seven Year Old Donates Lemonade Stand Profits to Help Local Charity,” on page 9, you will read how this young child found a unique way to help the community during this pandemic. Isabella held a lemonade stand and donated her profits to The Mission at Kern County. This little girls’ actions really showed the true community spirit we have here in Bakersfield. 

In addition to finding ways to help others, this pandemic has also given a lot of time to ponder and reflect. This month’s Hello Happy Mama, “A Letter to My Brother,” by Janelle Capra on page 16, she writes about what it means to be a real friend. As August is his birthday month, she explores the friendship she shares with her brother and even how they are polar opposites, they can find so much common ground. They also have really learned to rely on each other through the years, especially during the tougher times. She appreciates her brother, not only as her sibling, but her best friend.

There is no doubt about it, but Back to School is going to be different this year. That doesn’t mean we have to forgo our fun traditions, or we can even make new ones. I’m still going to go overboard on buying school supplies, even if they are just for me, and we’re all getting new outfits for our Zoom classes, at least new shirts since that’s all others see. 

This Fall, the main goal is to keep your little ones and bigger ones safe and healthy! Also, make sure you thank a teacher, because I know firsthand that this virtual world is hard for them too. And, for those of you who already have this online life figured out, I applaud you! You are amazing!

Happy Back to School!

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