Friendships & Masks

2022 has been a rough year and we’re only three months into it. There have been good parts, but year three of the pandemic and the safety restriction changes have made life a little more complicated.

Sage continues to wear his mask throughout the day at school and while I was initially concerned that he might deal with bullying, as a result of keeping the mask on, his post mask mandate experience at school has taken a different direction. One I wasn’t prepared for.

When his school announced that the mask policy would be moving to optional I intentionally made an appointment with our Family Practitioner so we could discuss the “what if” factors and put together a plan.

Frankly, it reminded me of all the pre-pregnancy appointments I had before I got pregnant. I’m a planner and everyone who knows me, knows that if I can plan for it, I will.

Our doctor was great. We discussed corona virus treatment options and steps we would take if Sage or I got infected. I felt good about our strategy and appreciated our doctor giving us some direction and letting me know what we could expect of we did get it.

The first week at school with the optional mask policy came and went. Sage said none of his friends were wearing masks anymore, but he was fine wearing his.

This week, Sage came home and said, “Mom, I want to tell you something. Is it okay if my friends and I are growing apart?”

At first the mask policy hadn’t entered my mind. I thought we were going to have a conversation about friends changing over time or some friends being closer friends than others, but when Sage said, “ever since the “zones” and rules changed at school, my friends don’t hangout with me anymore,” I was swept away with emotion, but simultaneously went into Mama Bear mode.

In my head I told myself, stay calm, don’t let him see that this is upsetting. Carry on and valid his feelings.

He went on and shared that he’s hanging out with some other friends now, and that it was okay, but that he wanted me make sure changing friends was natural.

Sage is amazing. He makes me so proud. Growing up has its ups and downs and each child has their own unique experiences.l, but let’s be real, it isn’t always easy to open up and talk about what is going on at school when it’s outside the everyday stuff. Sage is every bit true to the meaning of his name. Profound wisdom. Sometimes I just can’t believe he came from me and Eli. He’s such a beautiful soul.

Of course it was only two minutes after he went to bed that I was immediately sending a message to his school principal and his teacher asking how they were working to ensure all students felt confident, included and comfortable mask or no mask.

We shall see how things proceed, but I would also ask that if you’re a parent, talk to your kids about how being diffident is okay and that goes for any of us that are wearing a masks.

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